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Texas Announces $240 Million Investment in 31 Port Projects, Internet Connectivity Issues Affect Cn’s Customer Service Portal, Congress Approves Funding Measure Preventing Government Shutdown

Oct 5, 2023

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Panama Canal further reduces number of ships permitted to pass through its waterway daily. Due to a drought that has limited the freshwater needed to run the locks, the Panama Canal has announced that the maximum number of ships allowed to sail through the waterway daily will be reduced from 32 to 31. Usually, an average of 36 to 38 ships pass through the canal every day. The newer NeoPanamax locks will handle up to nine ships daily, while the older ones can handle 22.

Dockworkers Union declares bankruptcy. Over the weekend, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union declared bankruptcy after a federal jury considered illegal slowdowns and work stoppages at Oregon’s Port of Portland. According to an ILWU spokesman, the union will continue to operate “throughout the restructuring process.” The union controls dockworker employment and daily assignment to cargo-handling facilities in 29 Washington and California ports. Its jurisdiction includes the busiest container port complexes in the United States, Los Angeles, and Long Beach. These are the principal entry points for Asian imports of toys, apparel, electronics, furniture, and consumer products.


Closures create backlog of vessels at Savannah port. The Port of Savannah has a backlog of 16 vessels, which has been building up in recent weeks due to a series of closures. While shippers have expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation, many have also noted that there has been no significant impact. The root cause of the delays can be traced back to late August when crane equipment arrived at Savannah’s Garden City Terminal, which led to the temporary shutdown of two berths, thereby triggering a domino effect. It is expected that the backlog could persist until mid-November.

Texas announces $240 million investment in 31 port projects. Thirty-one Texas ports will receive as much as $240 million in state funding to upgrade their facilities and strengthen the state’s supply chains. The Texas Transportation Commission approved the spending, which is the first of its sort in the state, according to Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement on September 29 in Austin. The Maritime Infrastructure Program will give $200 million for port development, and the Seaport Connectivity Program will contribute $40 million for highway and other public transportation roadway funding.


U.S. and Mexican officials petition Texas governor to stop truck inspections. Trade officials on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border call for Texas Governor Greg Abbott to halt state-run truck inspections, which causes five-hour wait times in El Paso and Eagle Pass. In the past two weeks, trade across the border has slowed down due to the reassignment of customs officials to immigration duties and the closure of some crossing lanes at ports of entry because of an increased number of migrants. While the influx of migrants has affected operations, border authorities say that state-run inspections managed by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) are causing significant disruptions to commercial trade flows.


Internet connectivity issues affect CN’s customer service portal. Canadian National Railway (CN) reported on Wednesday that an internal system update caused an internet connectivity issue on Tuesday afternoon, which affected their customer service portal and passenger rail services in the Toronto area. The issue impacted CN’s servers, which GO trains and VIA trains depend on for service. To ensure the resumption of service, CN worked alongside GO trains and took over train dispatching responsibilities. As of 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, CN’s internet connectivity was restored, and their customer service portal and EDI system were operational. According to the railway, there were no significant delays in CN trains.


Maersk opens aviation cargo gateway in Los Angeles. Maersk has announced opening a new airfreight import/export gateway near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to expand its North American airfreight capacity. The new gateway, which runs across 130,000 sq ft, is a part of the company’s growth program in the region. The gateway boasts fast planeside recovery and unit load device (ULD) transfers, allowing quick and hassle-free cargo movement. Maersk’s North American air freight gateways also include Atlanta and Chicago.

Heathrow cargo tunnel scheduled to re-open. The cargo tunnel at Heathrow Airport, which was closed due to a “life safety issue” on October 2, is expected to re-open on October 5. The tunnel connecting to terminal four (T4) caused airline concerns about potential delays and cargo re-routing. However, an airport spokesperson has informed Air Cargo News that the tunnel will re-open.


Mexico facing logistics challenges due to delays in Lazaro Cardenas. As reported by The Loadstar, Hapag-Lloyd issued a customer alert on Friday, warning that cargo traveling to and from the port of Lazaro Cardenas is being delayed due to congestion at the Hapag-Lloyd and APM terminals. The port has been experiencing congestion for over three months, partly due to a surge in car shipments. However, issues with the rail system have also been affecting box traffic.

Heathrow cargo tunnel scheduled to re-open. The cargo tunnel at Heathrow Airport, which was closed due to a “life safety issue” on October 2, is expected to re-open on October 5. The tunnel connecting to terminal four (T4) caused airline concerns about potential delays and cargo re-routing. However, an airport spokesperson has informed Air Cargo News that the tunnel will re-open.


Congress approves funding measure preventing government shutdown. On the Wednesday before Congress approved a temporary funding plan, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg gave a speech supporting keeping the government open. He emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety of the transportation system and preserving the aviation workforce in the post-pandemic environment. As the October 1 funding deadline approached, the House and Senate passed the continuing funding measure, good through November 17. This proposal has already been enacted into law, giving House leaders over a month to finalize fiscal negotiations on funding matters.

American legislators urge NBA to end partnerships with Chinese manufacturers. A group of members of Congress and White House appointees, known as the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, has urged the National Basketball Association (NBA) to take a stand against the use of forced labor in China by prohibiting the sale and use of shoes and other sportswear made there. The commission, citing the NBA’s proclaimed values, also called on NBA commissioner Adam Silver to meet with victims of the Chinese government’s repression and learn about the reality of genocide. Additionally, the commission expressed concerns to CJ McCollum, president of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) of the New Orleans Pelicans, over the union’s potential complicity in China’s use of forced labor.

U.S. House to debate Transportation Bill for Fiscal Year 24. This month, legislation to fund the Department of Transportation until 2024 is up for debate in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to Transport Topics, after the Republican-led chamber passed a spending plan to prevent a partial shutdown on October 1, the transportation legislation will be discussed as early as the week of October 9. The appropriations plan approved by the committee would finance highway safety operations, infrastructure awards, and supply chain connectivity programs and provide nearly $1 billion for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.