Carriers vow to flex capacity to keep freight rates stable, despite anticipation of new ships and worsening economy

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Having navigated the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw significant drops in container volumes in 2020, carriers have shown a willingness to adjust capacity to demand, skipping sailings to keep utilisation and rates elevated. Port congestion and equipment shortages have also contributed to keeping rates up, with current spot rates from Asia to the US West Coast at $7,930, and trans-Atlantic rates from North Europe at $6,593, both figures up significantly from the previous year.

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As consumer demand soars, LA Port anticipates early peak cargo season

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An earlier-than-normal peak season is expected at the Port of Angeles as retailers build up inventory to meet the demands of consumer purchasing. The port handled 970,000 units of cargo in May, the third-busiest month on record for the United States’ busiest port; Asian imports to West Coast ports were up 60 percent in May and 57.1 percent in April.

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750 employees strike, but CN says operations not impacted

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On June 15, CN received 72-hour notice from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers of the union’s plan to strike, as signals and communications employees seek increases in wages and benefits. CN representatives say they are optimistic an agreement can be reached without disruption. Even as the strike began, the large transportation company says operations are not impacted and none are expected.

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Port Congestion Causing Air Cargo Rates to Increase

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Due to Shanghai’s lockdown, there is a backlog of an estimated 260,000 TEU of export cargo. This backlog would take 13 mega ships (20,000+ TEU each) to clear. This backlog adds pressure for ocean carriers to take on the additional cargo, but it also impacts air cargo.

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Truckload and LTL Pricing Continues to Rise

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Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show continuing price increases for long-distance truckload and less-than-truckload (LTL), although dry-van rates have decreased. Long-haul truckload prices increased by 5.1% in April while LTL rates increased by 5.2% in the same period. Between February to April, dry-van spot rates fell by 19.4% excluding fuel surcharges (the drop was 10.7% with fuel).

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West Coast Labour Negotiations Intensify Over Port Automation Debate

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Negotiations for a new contract between West Coast dockworkers and the terminal operators began on May 10th but sources say little progress has been made. The dockworkers are represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the terminal operators and ocean carriers represented by Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

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Shanghai Reopens June 1 but Supply Chain Backlog Will Persist

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Shanghai is scheduled to fully reopen on June 1 after a city-wide COVID lockdown that started in March. Shanghai’s port, which is the largest in the world, has been operating throughout the lockdown at severely reduced capacity, causing many shipments to be cancelled, postponed, or rerouted.

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State of Georgia Declares Supply Chain State of Emergency

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The governor of Georgia declared a supply chain state of emergency starting April 16. The executive order, which runs until May 16, was in response to the state’s supply chain challenges. The order bans price gouging on diesel fuel and gasoline and increases the maximum allowed gross vehicle weight and width on Georgia’s state and local roads.

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50% Chance that US West Coast Ports will Strike

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The contract for 15,000 port workers in Washington, Oregon, and California will expire on July 1, 2022. Negotiations are scheduled to begin for the 29 ports on May 12, but sources say that anything is possible – from a contract getting signed with no disruption to a strike lasting month or anything in between.

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How will Shanghai’s Pandemic Lockdown Impact Supply Chain?

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The city of Shanghai and its 25 million people are under an indefinite lockdown as China deals with its largest Covid-19 outbreak since the pandemic started. The good news is that China has kept the ports open. The bad news is that the critical shortage of truck drivers is impacting shipping volume, with one source estimated a 26% decrease in early April.

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BREAKING: CP Rail Back to Work Today (Mar 22)

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BREAKING NEWS: Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) employees are back to work at 12 noon local time on March 22, 2022.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and CP Rail have agreed to enter into binding arbitration, which ends the strike action that began this weekend.

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Upcoming Environmental Regulations Will Slow Ocean Rate Declines

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Consumer good demand in the North America will decline in 2022 as federal stimulus payments have been mostly spent and people shift their spending to vacations and restaurants following pandemic restrictions ending. But ocean freight rates might not decline as quickly as some have hoped because of global environmental regulations that will start in 2023.

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CP Strike Starts but Government wants Quick Resolution

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CP Rail shut down their operations in Canada on Sunday, March 20th, after 3,000 CP workers started picketing. The work stoppage comes at a terrible time for Canadians who are facing the negative impacts of the pandemic, record-high inflation, supply-chain congestion, and the war in Ukraine. Federal representatives want CP Rail and the union to reach a deal to end the work stoppage immediately.

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