COVID-19 Latest Updates

Container Imports Drop in Ports of LA and LB, FedEx Completes Major Expansion at Miami International Airport, Truck Driver Found Guilty Sentenced to 110 Years

By December 16, 2021 No Comments


USDOT announces maritime grants in response to supply chain needs. To help relieve freight bottlenecks across the country, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a series of grants for commercial maritime operations and freight hubs along key supply chain segments. As part of the America’s Marine Highway Program, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) granted roughly $13 million in funding to nine projects.

Crew reportedly kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea. Following what appeared to be a slowdown in cargo ship attacks in the Gulf of Guinea with the increased international presence in the region, a recent kidnapping was reported in the same vicinity as prior attacks in the region of Equatorial Guinea. While facts are limited at the time, security experts Dryad International reports that six crew members are suspected to have been taken in an area where another vessel was involved in another kidnapping incident in late October. As a result, MDAT-GoG issued a warning about “an enhanced high risk of pirate activities.”

Heavy drinking suspected as ship capsizes in Baltic Sea collision. Swedish and Danish officials launched a search and rescue effort after two general cargo ships collided and one capsized in the Baltic south of Sweden. One crew member from a Danish vessel perished, and another was missing, while Swedish investigators claimed they were looking into suspicions of gross negligence and drunkenness among the crew on the British vessel.

Nine people killed and two missing after freighter sinks in Bohai Sea. A Chinese ship with 14 crew members went down off the coast of Yantai, Shandong Province. The ship Tian Feng 369 was traveling in the Bohai Sea around 30 nm northeast of Yantai in the early hours of Sunday morning. The Beihai Rescue Bureau of China’s Ministry of Transport got notification of the ship’s distress and sent a helicopter and a search and rescue vessel to the area to help; however, by the time they arrived, the vessel had gone down and the crew had scattered in freezing water. A daylong search operation in gusty winds resulted in the rescue of three survivors. Two additional crew members are still missing.


Oakland Port imports rebound in November. Despite the supply chain disruption, container traffic at the Port of Oakland is starting to pick up again. Cargo imports handled by the Port of Oakland grew 6.5% in November from the previous year, the hub stated in an emailed statement on Dec. 15. Meanwhile, export volumes fell 9.4% due to a backlog of ships traveling to overseas markets, according to the port.

Container imports drop in ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Import flows at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are dropping, despite a mounting ship backlog. Container imports at the busiest U.S. port plummeted 9.6% last month and were down 10.1% from October. This was the port complex’s third consecutive yearly fall, and the greatest dip since May 2020, when pandemic-related shutdowns shattered global trade. The decline happened despite the fact that the backlog of ships waiting for berths reached a new high of 101 vessels this week, with the flotilla now extending out to sea under new queuing regulations.


Singapore Airlines selects Airbus freighters for cargo fleet renewal. Singapore Airlines Ltd. has signed a letter of intent with Airbus SE to purchase seven A350 freighters, with an option to purchase five more, as the airline eliminates its aged cargo fleet. Singapore Airlines stated in a statement that delivery of the planes will begin in the fourth quarter of 2025, but did not specify a price.

Importers shifting to air to bypass ocean backlogs encountering disruptions. With supplies low and ocean shipping backlogs delaying imports for weeks or even months, many U.S. importers are switching from ocean to air. Normally, it would be a successful, if costly, method; however, as the COVID-19 epidemic continues, it has worsened some of the exact issues shippers were attempting to avoid: capacity restrictions, bottlenecks, and delayed delivery. Airline companies are doing everything they can to preserve or increase capacity.


White House will reveal plan to recruit truck drivers. In collaboration with industry experts, the Biden administration is establishing a multimodal plan to strengthen trucker recruiting efforts through various avenues. The Biden-Harris Trucking Action Plan highlights, among other things, apprenticeship programs like the one included in the $1 trillion infrastructure plan passed by Congress in November, as well as increased attempts to attract military veterans for trucking jobs. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh have scheduled a meeting with transportation stakeholders at the White House on Dec. 16 to discuss the plan’s details.

Cummins (NYSE: CMI) recalling X12 diesel engines due to fire hazard. Cummins Inc. is recalling roughly 11,000 X12 diesel engines sold to 25 off-road and specialty equipment manufacturers due to a high-pressure gasoline leak caused by a damaged fuel tube, which resulted in a vehicle fire and dozens of warranty claims. The recall applies to all engines equipped with a certain injector fuel delivery tube that might break, resulting in a high-pressure fuel spill. According to Cummins, the problem is likely to affect only 1% of the 10,938 engines recalled.

Truck driver found guilty in fatal Colorado incident sentenced to 110 years. Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, of Houston, was sentenced to 110 years in a Jefferson County, Colorado, courtroom by Judge A. Bruce Jones, who ordered him to consecutively serve the minimum term on all 27 charges. Aguilera-Mederos insisted there was nothing he could do once the breaks went out on the truck coming out of the Rocky Mountains, resulting in a catastrophic 28-vehicle pileup that killed four people and injured six others.


Canadian Pacific (CP) and Kansas City Southern (KCS) awaiting government clearance of recently completed merger. CP has officially closed its acquisition of KCS, and both companies are now awaiting Surface Transportation Board approval of their merger. The deal is estimated to be valued at around US$31 billion. For each share of KCS common stock held, KCS investors will get 2.884 CP common shares and US$90 in cash, and US$37.50 in cash for each share of KCS preferred stock kept.


Three-judge panel will rule on Vaccine Mandate appeal for Private Employers. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati announced that a three-judge panel, instead of the entire court, will rule on a challenge to President Joe Biden’s mandate that all private employers with at least 100 employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or wear masks and undergo weekly tests.

FedEx Express completes significant expansion at Miami International Airport. FedEx Express has completed a $72.2 million expansion of its air cargo hub at Miami International Airport, providing increased capacity and capabilities to e-commerce and perishables shippers doing business in the Americas and Caribbean. The project expands the primary sort facility by more than 138,000 square feet, bringing it to a total of more than 282,000 square feet. 

Governor Hogan launches a supply chain resilience initiative. Gov. Larry Hogan unveiled a new program in Maryland targeted at tackling supply chain concerns in manufacturing. The new initiative is being launched by the Maryland Department of Commerce in collaboration with the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership. This program will provide Maryland firms the opportunity to learn and share best practices for strengthening their supply chains. It will also assist manufacturers in navigating the current supply chain crisis, improving outcomes, and lowering risk. It will make it easier for manufacturers to interact with local suppliers, consumers, and partners.

As companies strive to improve their operations from lessons learned during the pandemic, resilience has become the keyword for supply chains. Companies and governments are reinforcing their supply chains with digital technologies such as Navegate to increase their ability to withstand future shocks. Contact a Navegate expert to learn how our agile, digital solutions can help strengthen your supply chain.