COVID-19 Latest Updates

U.S.-Canada Border Crossing Reopens, Asia-Europe Contract Rates Climb, America Competes Act Is Passed by the House

By February 17, 2022 No Comments

Ocean  

Asia-Europe contract rates climb as shippers leave surging spot market. According to statistics from rate benchmarking tool Xeneta, the tremendous surge in Asia-North Europe container spot rates this year is forcing shippers into the contract market, driving up long-term rates by 68% in only the last month. Rates from China to North Europe on contracts of at least three months were at $2,043 per TEU at the end of June, but just a day later, the rate rose to $3,168 per TEU. The long-term rate rose to $3,340 per TEU at the end of July, 343 percent more than the figure at the same stage in pre-pandemic 2019. 

Customs

The America COMPETES Act is passed by the House. The America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (America COMPETES) Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 4. This bipartisan measure will enhance semiconductor chip production in the U.S., strengthen the supply chain to produce more items in the U.S., and invest in scientific research and new technologies, all while upholding high labor standards and human rights.

U.S. suspends avocado shipments from Mexico. The U.S. has prohibited avocado shipments from Mexico’s western state of Michoacan after a threat was received by a U.S. official, according to a statement issued by Mexico’s Agriculture Ministry on Saturday. According to the statement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) decided to stop avocado inspection activities in Michoacan until further notice after one of its officers, who was conducting inspection work in Uruapan, Michoacan, received a threatening call to his official cell phone.

Trying to manage your supply chain while staying current on tariff and policy changes? Everyone else is too. Fortunately, there are several actions you can take to reduce the effects of tariff adjustments on your supply chain and better monitor the ongoing fluctuations. What’s the best part? You can do all of them without fully upending your existing systems. Click here to read our customs brokerage team’s greatest advice on managing tariffs. If importers have not yet, now is the time to review existing tariff classifications for your products—in preparation for any classification or duty rate changes.

Ports

FMC demands carriers justify port congestion costs in U.S. A number of carriers have been instructed by U.S. maritime regulators to demonstrate how congestion surcharges and other expenses associated with the pandemic-driven supply chain disruption fulfill legal and regulatory standards. Carriers have already begun imposing additional fees for August. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) said on Wednesday that it will conduct an accelerated investigation into how CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, HMM, Matson, Mediterranean Shipping Co., OOCL, SM Line, and Zim Integrated Shipping Services imposed such levies in response to U.S. port congestion. 

LA-LB terminals withdrew daytime truck fee extension. Terminal operators in Los Angeles-Long Beach dropped their request to the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on Friday to limit a traffic mitigation fee (TMF) on daytime container transfers. According to Maffei, the fee has become more about earning “millions” of dollars in profits for terminal operators and less about relieving historic congestion at the .US.’ busiest gateway. 

Air

Australia looks to be reopening its borders. Australia is expected to reopen its borders to international visitors next week, clearing the way for an increase in airfreight capacity. After nearly two years of border restrictions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the reopening of the crossing on February 21, allowing “fully vaccinated” travelers with a visa into the country for the first time with no prior exemption necessary.

Chennault Airport spends $4 million on air transport. Chennault International Airport in Louisiana is nearing completion of a $4 million facility to enter the air cargo market. The 10,000-square-foot air freight pass-through facility’s construction began in June 2021. According to Chennault Airport executive director Kevin Melton, it is slated to be finished in the summer of 2022. The federal agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection is expected to certify the facility for international freight.

Trucking

U.S.-Canada border crossing reopens as trucker anti-vaccine protests lose steam. In a very rare move, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, set a number of emergency measures on Monday, including restrictions on public gatherings, in an attempt to put a stop to disruptive protests in the capital city and along the Canada-U.S. border. The actions, announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are one of the most stunning responses by a Western government to protests against Covid-19 vaccine mandates and social restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic, and they managed to draw immediate criticism from some Canadian leaders and civil-liberties organizations.

Truckload rates fall on U.S. West Coast of the United States, due to increase in IPI activity. According to importers, non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOs), and U.S. Class I railroads, price gains for spot market truck capacity on the West Coast have slowed in recent weeks, despite an increase in international intermodal traffic. However, there is little data to measure the increase in international intermodal, also known as inland point intermodal (IPI), and it may be fleeting if ocean carriers charge too much in 2022 contracts.

Other

Vietnam maintains factory operations despite an increase in Covid-19 cases. Despite record COVID-19 cases, Vietnamese factories producing everything from shoes to iPhones are expected to continue operations, reversing a strategy of widespread lockdowns last year that hampered global supply chains for Western merchants. Vietnam, one of the world’s largest garment producers, reported more than 26,000 new illnesses on Sunday, nearly double the peak last year, when factories supplying Nike, Zara, Apple, and Samsung were shut down for months.

Truckers recognized as Highway Angels for feeding stranded motorists. The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) has honored truck driver Jean-Carlo Gachet of Chester, Virginia, a Highway Angel for providing snowbound travelers with a hot meal. Matthew Marchand, a Canadian driver, was also acknowledged for assisting stranded motorists. Both were recognized in conjunction with a snowstorm-related halt on Interstate 95.

A difficult year for cocoa buyers. Cocoa futures have risen as a result of dry weather in West Africa, with supply concerns bolstering a commodity that saw prices decrease in 2021. The dry season lasts from November to March in the Ivory Coast, which is by far the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans. However, according to analysts and traders, it has been exceptionally dry in recent weeks, which has investors banking on a reduced harvest and continuing price hikes ahead. Prices for the most commonly traded futures have risen by 8.4% so far this year, and by 8% in February alone. The rise in cocoa prices is the latest indicator of commodities market instability, which has sent raw material costs soaring and fragmented price planning in supply chains.