Rail Congestion Impacting LA-LB Ports

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Inland rail congestion in the United States is impacting the number of import containers moved by rail from Los Angeles-Long Beach. In 2019, 67.9% of imports to LA-LB were moved by rail. Between January to April this year, the number has dropped to 40.8%.

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CP and KCS Merger Approved for Foreign Investment

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The merger between Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP) and Kansas City Southern (KCS) is one step closer to completion, as it recently received clearance from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment. The deal isn’t done yet, as it still requires approval from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, which expects to complete its review in early 2023. Mexican regulators have already given their approval.

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Congestion causing some Shipping Lines to Rotate Vancouver Calls

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Weeks of inland congestion and rail car shortages, especially in Toronto and Montreal, is causing some shipping lines to make changes to their scheduled calls at the Port of Vancouver. The second largest shipping line in the world is sending some vessels to alternate US ports to temporarily discharge Vancouver rail cargo.  We anticipate that there will be some delays for import cargo coming into Canada.

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New Hapag-Lloyd Service from Saint John to Northern Europe

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Hapag-Lloyd recently launched a new weekly service that calls Hamburg, Germany and Antwerp, Belgium, before reaching Port Saint John in New Brunswick. From Port Saint John, containers can be transported via CP Rail to Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver in Canada, and Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis in the U.S.

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European Flight Cancellations Impacting Air Cargo Too

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Flight cancellations and disruptions in Europe have dominated the news, causing havoc not only for travelers, but also for shippers of air cargo. The issue is that airlines, airports, and ground-handling companies have chronic staff shortages, which has been caused by rising COVID-19 infections, a swell of travelers during the summer holidays, and higher cargo volumes after Shanghai and Hong Kong’s restrictions have lifted.

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Canadian Government Offering Incentives for Truckers to Go Green

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As part of #EVWeek in Canada, the Minister of Transport announced a four-year $550 million program to help businesses switch to zero-emission vehicles. The government’s goal is to “help reduce pollution, create more well-paying jobs, and build a cleaner world for generations to come.”

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Short-Term Breakbulk Rates Weaken, but Long-Term Forecast Remains Strong

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A possible economic recession, persistent port congestion in the US and Europe, and the impact of China’s recent pandemic shutdowns are causing breakbulk charter rates to start falling. The average daily rate for multipurpose/heavy-lift vessels dropped by 0.6% in June, with predictions of dropping another 4.9% by the end of the year.

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Trucker Protests Block Port of Oakland

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Independent truck drivers started protesting last Monday, July 18, significantly hampering operations at the Port of Oakland. Truckers are upset at California’s new state law, known as AB5, which will force an estimated 70,000 independent truckers to find work as employee-drivers or pay more for insurance to stay independent.

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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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