DOT data sharing partnerships aim to improve supply chain. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is developing its industry partnership, Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW) as part of its efforts to enhance U.S. supply chain operations and fortify it along all its elements from the shipping companies to terminals, intermodal operators, and shippers. One of the key initiatives of the development is the sharing of data among the partners and with DOT to identify and manage problems along the supply chain, Maritime Executive reports. DOT reports that the number of companies participating in the program has doubled since its launch in March, and DOT expects membership will continue to grow in the coming months.
FMC Chairman says that lines should subsidize costs of port congestion. After a meeting last week at the Port of New York and New Jersey, US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) chairman Daniel Maffei said: “When ocean carriers continue to bring thousands of containers per month to a port and only pick up a fraction of that number, it creates an untenable situation for terminals, importers and exporters, trucking companies, and the port itself. The commission has already been investigating reports of carriers charging per diem container charges even when the shipper or trucker cannot possibly return the container due to terminal congestion. I will ask that this investigation be broadened and intensified to cover instances where shippers and truckers are being forced to store containers or move them without proper compensation.” Read more of Maffei’s statement at Splash247.
CBP intercepts large shipment of exotic reptiles and insects during inspection. It’s not every day that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge intercepts 95 specimens of exotic reptiles and insects during an outbound inspection.“CBP enforces laws and regulations from many state and federal organizations, exotic reptiles and insects are a rare find and we rely on our law enforcement partners to assist with such findings,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. CBP OFO arrested the individuals who attempted to import the creatures on August 3 and seized the vehicles. The insects and reptiles were turned over to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the case remains under investigation by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), according to a CBP release.
CBP announces enhancements to O’Hare Global Entry technology. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that technological enhancements to the Global Entry kiosks at Chicago O’Hare International Airport would be taking effect as of August 9. According to a media release, the upgraded facial biometric kiosks will eliminate paper receipts and leverage mobile officer technology to provide a “secure, streamlined, and touchless experience” for Global Entry members traveling internationally, while protecting the privacy of all travelers. “We are excited to begin processing Global Entry members with our new touchless and receiptless kiosks at Chicago O’Hare International Airport,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “This innovative solution enhances our Global Entry program for both travelers and officers by adding an extra layer of security, reducing physical touchpoints, and expediting member processing.” You can see all of the changes at the Trusted Traveler Programs website.
Drop in Gas prices led to unchanged U.S. consumer prices in July. U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in July due to a sharp drop in the cost of gasoline. After advancing 1.3% in June, The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was flat last month. On Wednesday, the Labor Department released a closely watched report that could allow the Federal Reserve to dial down the size of interest rate hikes in September. The reading was the largest month-on-month deceleration of price increases since 1973 and follows on the heels of a roughly 20% drop in the cost of gasoline, Reuters reports.
Fertilizer shippers want carrier reforms. The Biden administration is feeling pressure from fertilizer shippers who are pressing for transportation-related changes they say will “help lower their costs and make them more competitive in world markets.” Recommendations from the industry in response to an information request published earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS) include regulatory and other changes affecting trucking, rail and maritime. In the information request the agency asked for help identifying issues affecting the ability to compete in domestic and international markets, along with potential policy solutions.
Toronto/Montreal shuttle fee notice for MPT customers. On Tuesday, Maersk released a notice regarding shuttle fees for MPT customers. “As the situation both in Prince Rupert and Vancouver continues to deteriorate with import container dwell times reaching record levels, CN rail will be taking several steps to restore fluidity in the network with the establishment of multiple relief container yards where freight can be diverted to. CN rail will as such assess a fee to shuttle containers over to the nominated relief yards. The fee will go into effect commencing Tuesday, August 9th, 2022 and will be applied on all store door cargo where Maersk’s nominated trucker is responsible for providing the dray to the door, also known as MPT (Maersk Preferred Trucker) and the container was also subject to a reroute over to one of the relief container yards. The pass-through charge will be represented as Additional Import Service as part of the billing process. Rail storage free time for [certain] locations has also been reduced from 2 free days to 1 free day.” You can see the specific charges and locations here.
Bill introduced to ban railroad rate hikes during service emergencies. Under a new legislative package introduced last week, railroads would be prohibited from raising prices during service emergencies. The measure, introduced by House leaders in agriculture and transportation, would expand the power of the Surface Transportation Board to regulate railroads when the agency declares a service emergency and requires rail contracts to include service delivery standards. The bill would also allow shippers who own or lease their own railcars to assess fines on railroads when there are service delays. “This bill will level the playing field and provide railroad customers—many of which are transporting key food and energy products—the service they deserve,” said co-sponsor Rep. Peter DeFazio in a statement.
UPS to reduce surcharges on some international services. On Monday, UPS Inc. announced that it will lower its surcharges on heavier-weighted shipments moving from Asian and South Pacific points to the U.S., effective Sunday, August 14. The reductions will affect shipments moving under UPS Worldwide Express Freight service. UPS will reduce surcharges to $1.70 per pound from $2.04 per pound on shipments that move from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. Surcharges on shipments moving from Australia and New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan, will be cut by more than half to 66 cents per pound from $1.34 per pound, UPS said. See more from FreightWaves here.
Cuba’s worst fire in history contained after 5 days. The worst fire in Cuba’s history was finally contained on Tuesday after destroying 40% of the Caribbean island’s main fuel storage facility and caused massive blackouts over the course of 5 days. Witnesses reported the “raging flames that ravaged a four-tank segment of the Matanzas super tanker port had died down and the towering plumes of thick black smoke streaming from the area were diminished and now mostly gray,” according to reports. Matanzas is Cuba’s largest port for receiving crude oil and fuel imports. The crude oil, fuel oil and diesel stored in Matanzas in 10 huge tanks, are mainly used to generate electricity on the island.
Massive Chilean sinkhole has authorities puzzled. Officials are working to determine what caused a massive 656 foot top-to-bottom sinkhole near the mining town of Tierra Amarilla. NPR estimates that the sinkhole that opened up in Chile over the weekend could fit the Washington Monument inside — with about 100 feet to spare. In a statement to Reuters, agency director David Montenegro said “we haven’t detected any material down there, but we have seen the presence of a lot of water.”
Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO to public debate over lawsuit. Elon Musk has challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a public debate instead of facing the ongoing court case over his attempt to break a $44 billion merger contract. Musk tweeted Saturday: “I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!” A “source close to the company says a debate is not going to happen outside of a pending trial,” CNBC reported. In May, when Agrawal posted a thread explaining Twitter’s spam-estimate process, Musk responded with a poop emoji. Musk tried to delay the trial until February 2023, however Judge Kathaleen McCormick rejected the request, instead granting Twitter’s motion to expedite the trial, now scheduled to begin on October 17.