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Backlog Grows on St. Lawrence Seaway as Result of Strike, Cargo Thefts on the Rise in Border Regions, Ships Advised to Stay Further Offshore From Israel.

Oct 26, 2023

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Backlog grows on St. Lawrence Seaway as result of strike. A strike on the Canadian side has halted St. Lawrence Seaway traffic since Saturday, with dozens of ships waiting at anchor. The Chamber of Marine Commerce warns it costs the U.S. and Canadian economies up to $70 million daily, and with only about 50 days left before winter closure, it’s a significant impact. According to Maritime Executive, ships are currently anchored at both ends of the Seaway, with an additional 35 vessels affected by the shutdown, not including those at piers.


13% YOY decline in September cargo volumes at Port of Virginia. The Port of Virginia experienced a 13% year-over-year drop in cargo volumes in September, marking the eighth consecutive month of yoy declines. Despite reduced container volumes, the port’s total TEUs for the month increased by 12% compared to 2019 levels. Port officials attributed the decline in yoy volumes last month to the normalization of cargo flows.

Port of Prince Rupert to increase transloading capacity. The Prince Rupert port authority is building the Ridley Island Export Logistics Project (RIELP) to increase rail-to-container transloading capacity by 400,000 twenty-foot equivalent units for various products, including agricultural, forestry and plastic resin products. The project also aims to expand the rail utility corridor and decarbonize export supply chains. The project is set to begin in Q3 2026 and will cost around CA$750 million (US$540 million), with funding from various sources, including the Canadian government, according to FreightWaves.


Trucking industry sees increase in cyber threats. The trucking industry is experiencing a rise in cyber threats, mirroring a broader trend in the economy, according to experts at the National Motor Freight Traffic Association Digital Solutions Conference. The event, held earlier this week, brought together transportation and cybersecurity experts to “identify issues and talk about best practices,” according to Transport Topics. Shelly Thomas, Senior VP at risk management firm Marsh, noted during the conference that 2023 has been a significant year for ransomware, with the highest Q2 numbers since 2020 and a record ransom demand of $175 million earlier in the year.

Cargo thefts on the rise in border regions. Truck-related crimes are rising in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, costing the trucking and logistics industries about $1 billion annually. Historically, cargo theft concentrated around ports in California, Texas, and Florida in the U.S., Toronto in Canada, and central states in Mexico. As manufacturers shift production closer to border regions, experts anticipate changes in theft patterns. During Q2, U.S. truckload carriers saw a sharp increase in cargo thefts, with common targets including electronics, food, beverages, and construction materials. CargoNet reported 566 incidents in the U.S. and 16 in Canada, a 57% YoY increase from 2022.


Union Pacific increases U.S.-Mexico connectivity. On October 2, Union Pacific launched a new domestic intermodal service connecting Mexico and the southeastern U.S. in a move catering to the demand for transportation from Mexico’s industrial hubs to Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. The service spans nine destinations in these states, offering transit times from Mexico to destination markets ranging from eight to 14 days. Union Pacific established this service in collaboration with Ferromex, Norfolk Southern Railway, CSX, and Florida East Coast Railway.


American Airlines Cargo extends winter schedule. American Airlines Cargo has announced an extended winter schedule comprising over 12,500 roundtrip widebody flights from November 2023 to March 2024. The airline is boosting frequencies on major international routes, with over 6,900 of these widebody flights specifically allocated to transatlantic routes, marking a significant increase of more than 1,100 flights compared to the previous year’s winter season, according to the Loadstar.


Ships advised to stay further offshore from Israel. Shipping lines are advised to anchor further offshore from Israel, given the ongoing conflict with Hamas. Many carriers have introduced war risk surcharges for shipments bound for Israel. Last week, Evergreen became the first carrier to reroute a feeder ship bound for Israel following a force majeure declaration. Although most ports are operational, a significant portion of the workforce has been mobilized for the war effort, causing delays.


UPS, FedEx, USPS announce holiday shipping deadlines. UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service have announced shipping deadlines for all customers who are looking to ensure that products are delivered ahead of Christmas. See the deadlines and other guidelines here.