Environmentally friendly cargo ship in the works. SailCargo INC is developing a fleet of eco-friendly vessels with the goal of making emission-free shipping a reality. According to Interesting Engineering, SailCargo is “currently building its flagship vessel, the Ceiba, from locally sourced wood in the jungles of Punta Morales, Costa Rica, and expects it to be on the water and making shipments of coffee, cacao, and other value-added natural products sometime in the next year and a half, traveling between various points in North America and the Caribbean.”
FMC to take action regarding export complaints. Repeated complaints from manufacturers over the inability to export their goods continue to be one of the driving forces for new efforts to examine ocean carriers’ export services. Staff is reportedly moving forward “expeditiously” with the efforts to examine how key ocean carriers are serving U.S. export shippers, according to the latest report from the Federal Maritime Commission. The complaints are a key piece of the pending legislative reform to the Ocean Shipping Act. Maritime Executive reports that “after passing both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, the bill is currently awaiting a conference committee to address differences between the two versions of the bill. The FMC, however, has not been waiting for the new authorities it will be granted when the bill becomes law as well as the elements of the bill focusing on revising the export operations of the ocean carriers.”
Hapag-Lloyd to pay $822,220 in civil damages. A US administrative law judge has ordered Hapag-Lloyd to pay $822,220 in civil damages stemming from a Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) investigation. The investigation found that the carrier improperly assessed detention charges on 11 containers in mid-2021. The payment will go to a California drayage provider who asserted that attempts to have the detention fees waived were denied or ignored by Hapag-Lloyd. “We are thoroughly looking into this ruling and will then decide upon further legal action,” Hapag-Lloyd spokesman Tim Seifert told JOC.com.
U.S. imports from Asia continue to grow to meet demand. Despite warnings of rising inflation, growth in US imports from Asia in the first quarter indicates continued strength in consumer demand. Total volumes from Asia increased 2.7 percent to 1.62 million TEU in the first three months of 2022 from an already record-setting first quarter last year, according to PIERS. The data also shows an increase in East Coast market share for Asia imports to 34.6 percent, from 33.1 percent in Q1 2021, and a corresponding decrease in West Coast market share to 58.2 percent from 61.3 percent. According to the Journal of Commerce, that explains the increase in vessel backlogs at East Coast ports and the slight improvement in congestion at West Coast ports as retailers shift some of their imports away from the West Coast in anticipation of the expiration of the waterfront contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association on July 1.
FMC Provides Instructional Video on How to File Complaints. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has released a video that provides instruction on options the public can use to bring complaints to the agency. The video has three segments that explain how to report a potential violation of the law to Commission investigative staff for possible enforcement action; how to work with the Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS) to achieve speedy commercial solutions; and how to file small claims or formal civil complaints heard by the Commission’s Administrative Law Judge. Each segment provides detailed instructions on how to initiate a process, information the Commission will require to move forward, and an explanation of how each process will progress, including potential outcomes, the FMC said. Watch it here.
New CBP Aluminum Import Monitoring (AIM) Requirements. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol CSMS #51720841: “Beginning June 29, 2022, U.S. Commerce Department (Commerce) Aluminum Import licensing applications will require both fields of “country of largest smelt” and “country of second largest smelt.” Commerce defines the field for the country of smelt for the largest (and second largest) volume of primary aluminum as the country where the largest volume of new aluminum metal is produced from alumina (refined aluminum oxide) by the electrolytic Hall-Héroult process. Based on public comments in response to the preliminary rule, it was determined that importers/brokers would need time to gather required information for the countries of smelt and a grace period was granted for these fields; importers were permitted to indicate “unknown” for one year upon implementation of the regulations. Commerce extended the temporary period to allow for license applicants to state “unknown” in the fields for country(ies) of smelt for the largest and second largest volume of primary aluminum until June 28, 2022. Commerce will begin requiring the requested information for these fields for license applications on or after June 29, 2022, meaning that filers may no longer state “unknown” for these fields after that date. For more information, please visit the Aluminum Import Monitoring (AIM) website at: Aluminum (trade.gov) and the Getting Started with AIM page (including the production process) or contact the aluminum licensing office at [email protected]”
Cummins files for filtration business IPO. Cummins Inc. submitted a draft registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for its filtration business, proposing an underwritten initial public offering in the United States. The number of shares to be offered and the price for the IPO have not yet been determined or made public. The SEC will begin the review process before the IPO can commence.
COFC Logistics to purchase 5,500 domestic containers. Over the next 12 months, 5,500 containers purchased by COFC Logistics will be delivered in a move designed to provide an alternative for shippers who do not want to follow Schneider National’s move to rival Union Pacific Railroad next year. COFC is a domestic intermodal provider partnered with BNSF Railway. Back in January, Schneider announced that it will be leaving BNSF at the end of 2022 to join UP. J.B. Hunt announced plans in March to increase its container pool by 40 percent to 150,000 containers within the next three to five years, in hopes of luring shippers back to BNSF.
U.S. issues TDO for Russian carrier. The U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has issued a temporary order denying all export privileges for the Russian cargo carrier Aviastar. According to Aircargo News, the BIS said that the order had been issued due to “ongoing violations of the comprehensive export controls (EAR) imposed on Russia by the Commerce Department” in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The US requires that any aircraft controlled, chartered or leased by Russia or a Russian national that contains more than 25% controlled US-origin content is subject to a license requirement before it can travel to Russia. An investigation done by the US Office of Export Enforcement found that Aviastar operated multiple US-origin aircraft subject to the EAR into and out of Russia to China without a license. The website FlightRadar24 shows that since the order was issued on March 21, the carrier has performed several flights within Russia and between Russia and China.
Strike-authorization ballot to be voted on by Alaska Airlines pilots. Pilots at Alaska Airlines have been negotiating a new contract with the airline since 2019. If the ballot is passed by the pilots, the vote would authorize union leaders at the airline to declare a strike when the group is given permission to do so by the National Mediation Board (NMB). ALPHA said: “The pilot union’s leaders at Alaska Airlines unanimously voted to conduct a strike-authorization ballot among their pilots. This means union leaders are officially requesting the Alaska Airlines pilot group, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association Int’l (ALPA), give them the authority to go on strike when legally permitted to do so. This would only happen if negotiations break down and the federal government authorizes a walkout after the parties exhaust the required procedures of the Railway Labor Act.” There are approximately 3,100 ALPA pilots at Alaska Airlines. Aircargo News reports that It is not yet known whether any potential industrial action could impact freighter flights or air cargo flown on passenger flights.
Urban-Air Port Ltd (UAP) opens U.K. demonstration hub for cargo drones. U.K. start-up Urban-Air Port Ltd (UAP) has opened Air-One in Coventry, designed for eVTOL vehicles such as air taxis and autonomous cargo drones. The hub in Coventry will provide a blueprint for more than 200 vertiports planned worldwide by UAP over the next five years. Aircargo News reports that “Air-One is expected to demonstrate how purpose-built ground infrastructure can unleash the potential of AAM to decarbonize transport and cut air pollution and congestion, whilst providing efficient deliveries.”
Elon Musk to purchase Twitter for $44 billion. The deal will take the company private and shareholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter stock they own, matching Musk’s original offer and marking a 38% premium over the stock price the day before Musk revealed his stake in the company, according to CNN.
Recent developments amid Russia-Ukraine crisis:
Transportation companies pledge aid to Ukraine. Multiple companies in the transportation sector have stepped up to pledge help for Ukraine amid the Russian Invasion. The Trucking Cares Foundation donated $42,500 to Save the Children, the International Red Cross and the United Nations Children’s Fund. Trucking Cares Foundation Chairman Phil Byrd said in a statement March 16, “The war unfolding in Ukraine is a terrible tragedy. The trucking industry stands with the Ukrainian people and we’re proud to do even a little bit to ease their suffering.” Additionally, the UPS Foundation partnered with humanitarian relief organizations in order to provide $1 million in initial emergency funding and support in March. The support included 56,000 winter coats, 160,000 pounds of food for refugees, $4 million in medical supplies, 10,000 blankets and over 100 pallets of hygiene items, diapers, sleeping bags and mattresses. FedEx Corp. committed more than $1.5 million in relief aid to provide humanitarian assistance, which included a $550,000 cash donation to nonprofits.
Russia cuts off gas to Poland and Bulgaria. On Wednesday, Russia cut off natural gas to NATO members Poland and Bulgaria and threatened to do the same to other countries. The Associated Press reports that European leaders decried the move as “blackmail.” The news comes just a day after the U.S. and other Western allies vowed to speed more and heavier weapons to Ukraine. The cut-off resulted in a major spike in gas prices in Europe. Poland has been a key portal for the delivery of weapons to Ukraine and confirmed this week that it is sending the country tanks. Bulgaria has openly supported sanctions against Russia over its invasion and has hosted Western fighter jets at a new NATO outpost on the Black Sea coast. According to the Associated Press, “the gas cuts do not immediately put the two countries in dire trouble. Poland has been working for several years to line up other sources of energy, and the continent is heading into summer, making gas less essential for households.”