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Suez Canal Transit Tolls to be Raised Again, Renewal of FDA Food Facility Registration Begins Oct. 1, FAA Rejects Proposal to Cut Hours Required for Pilot Training.

Sep 22, 2022

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Suez Canal transit tolls to be raised again. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced last weekend that it will raise the transit tolls for vessels crossing the Suez Canal again, effective January 2023. The SCA said in a statement that transit fees will increase by 15 percent for “all types of vessels except for dry bulk ships and cruise ships, which will see an increase of 10 percent In justifying the fee hike.” SCA’s Chairman and Managing Director, Osama Rabie, said that the Canal’s flexible pricing strategy is dictated by real-time changes to the global economy, according to Maritime Executive. “Increased transit tolls come in light of SCA’s keeping up-to-date with all the market changes in the maritime transport which monitor the ever-increasing daily charter rates for most types of vessels that reached unprecedented levels, and the forecast for next year shows a continuation in this rise,” said Rabie.


Port of LA sees 15% decrease in container volume handled. The Port of LA handled an estimated 806,000 teu in August this year, 15% lower than the same period last year, marking an end to the surge in cargo seen in the latter half of 2021 through to July 2022. The Port of LA saw a 17% drop in loaded imports 404,000 teu in August, while loaded exports decreased 1% to 100,000 teu, compared to August 2021, according to Seatrade Maritime. The volume of empty containers handled declined by 18% to 301,000 teu. At the Port of Long Beach, 860,940 teu was handled in August, down just 0.1% on the same month in 2021. Imports were down 5.6% to 384,530 teu and exports increased 1.6% to 121,408 teu. Empty containers increased 7.2% to 301,001 teu. The drop in imports at the Port of LA comes at a time when volumes traditionally begin to ramp up ahead of the peak holiday season.


Renewal of FDA Food Facility Registration Begins Oct. 1. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Facility Registration Renewal will begin Oct. 1 and continue through Dec. 31, 2022. All food facilities must submit a timely renewal. Failure to do so will cause products to be denied entry into the U.S. A DUNS number for the food facility location must be provided as part of the FDA renewal. In the past, FDA has been flexible, allowing the use of “pending” if a DUNS’ number could not be obtained. However, the FDA will no longer offer such flexibility. See these helpful tips from the FDA and this Webinar for more information.


Amazon signs deal with Infinium to supply fossil fuel alternative to trucking fleet. Beginning in 2023, Amazon is aiming to power its transport vehicles with ultra-low carbon electrofuels. On Monday, Amazon signed an agreement with Infinium, a renewable fuels technology company, which is expected to initially supply enough electrofuels to power Amazon trucks in lieu of diesel fuel for approximately 5 million miles of travel per year. Electrofuels are a fossil fuel alternative created from carbon waste and renewable energy. The agreement is aimed at Amazon’s commitment to find ways to deliver packages to customers in more sustainable ways.

Tesla looking to build domestic lithium refinery in Texas. Tesla Inc. is looking to create a domestic lithium supply chain for EV batteries as demand for electric vehicles surges across the world. A notice was recently filed by Tesla seeking tax breaks for a proposed lithium refinery to be located in Robstown, Texas, less than 200 miles from its Gigafactory in Austin. Tesla stated that the proposed lithium refinery would “process raw ore material into a usable state for battery production,” according to an application with the Texas Comptroller’s office dated Aug. 22. If approved, Tesla could begin construction on the refinery as early as the end of this year, and production could begin in 2024. As of yet, Tesla has not received any regulatory permits and said its final decision will be dependent on how much state and local property tax relief it can receive, stating it’s a “determining factor for investment in Texas,” according to FreightWaves.


Business groups lobby Congress to pass legislation to mitigate railroad disruptions. Business groups are arguing that more needs to be done to address poor rail service following the avoidance of a nationwide shut down last week that would have devastated an already ailing U.S. economy. Groups such as carmakers, farmers, retailers, and other rail customers are lobbying Congress to pass legislation that would cut down on chronic disruptions, The Hill reports. “There’s a lot of folks who are now aware of just how important railroads are to our economy. And now with a spotlight on them, they’re finding out that things are not what they could be or what they should be,” said Chris Jahn, president of the American Chemistry Council, which represents firms that primarily transport products to manufacturers by train.


FAA rejects proposal to cut hours required for pilot training. On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that it rejected a proposal to cut the number of hours required to become a co-pilot in half. In April, Republic Airways proposed that pilots be allowed to join an airline after just 750 hours of flight time upon completion of the carrier’s training program. Currently 1,500 hours of flight time are required before a new pilot can fly commercially, with exception for certain military experience that cuts the requirement in half. The FAA’s decision to reject the proposal comes as airlines face a severe shortage of pilots.

25 United Airlines planes grounded after missed inspections. United Airlines was forced to ground a number of aircraft earlier this week after discovering they had not received some necessary routine inspections. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the airline grounded 25 Boeing 777 aircraft to comply with the inspection requirements, according to ABC News. Thousands of stranded and inconvenienced passengers had to be rerouted by airline reservation specialists over the last few days because of the fiasco.


Shanghai unveils plans for $257 billion in infrastructure projects. On Tuesday, the commercial hub of Shanghai in China announced plans for eight infrastructure projects with total investment of 1.8 trillion yuan ($257 billion). The plans come after the city was hit hard by COVID-19 lockdowns in April and May, and the local economy fell 13.7% in the second quarter.

Putin announces mobilization of Russian military reserves. On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin announced the partial mobilization of military reservists in Russia, causing panic among the U.N. and Russian people. This act is a significant escalation of the war between Russia and Ukraine and comes after setbacks on the battlefield have the Kremlin facing growing pressure to act. Putin also said in a national address that he backed plans for Russia to “annex occupied areas of southern and eastern Ukraine, and appeared to threaten nuclear retaliation if Kyiv continues its efforts to reclaim that land,” according to NBC News. This news comes just a day after four Russian-controlled areas in Ukraine announced they would stage votes this week on breaking away from the country and joining Russia.

World’s largest immersed tunnel in works between Denmark and Germany. The world’s longest immersed tunnel is in the works between Denmark and Germany and is set to be completed in 2029. Construction started on the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel began in 2020 after nearly a decade of planning. A temporary harbor has been completed on the Danish side that will host the factory to build the 89 massive concrete sections that will make up the tunnel. The tunnel will be 18 kilometers long and in some areas will reach depths of 40 meters below the Baltic Sea. It’s one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects, with a construction budget of over 7 billion euros. The crossing between Germany and Denmark takes 45 minutes by ferry, it will take just seven minutes by train and 10 minutes by car once the tunnel is completed.