Rates fall as demand weakens. According to The Loadstar, as supply chain disruptions ease and consumer demand drop, freight and charter prices are going downwards but staying elevated by historical standards, leading liners to conduct blank sailings to reduce capacity while keeping rates high.
FMC facing potential staffing shortage for proper OSRA enforcement. An official at the Federal Maritime Commission says the agency may not have enough staff to enforce ocean shipping reforms enacted in June. FMC Commissioner Carl Bentzel said Monday during a webinar on the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA), “we are resource-strained right now.” Bentzel said the FMC has six investigators to oversee $6 trillion in containerized cargo value and affiliated intermodal services and economic activity — one investigator for every trillion dollars of commerce.
Coast Guard and CBP bust khat shipment at Port of Seattle. 20,000 pounds of the Middle Eastern stimulant drug khat were seized in a joint effort by the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection. An investigation led to the seizure of more than $3.6 million of dried khat at the Puget Sound seaport. It was the largest seizure of its kind ever recorded in the region.
Texas ports report record-breaking increases in container volumes. Ports in Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas, achieved record-breaking results in June from increased crude oil and refined products exports, and shipments of oil drilling products and auto. Port Houston hit a record for monthly container volumes for the second consecutive month, handling 323,823 twenty-foot equivalent units, an increase of 11% year-over-year as the same period last year. The Port of Corpus Christi set new tonnage records. The port moved 46.4 million tons of cargo in the second quarter of 2022 and 90.1 million tons for the year’s first six months, eclipsing prior records set in 2021.
U.S. grants temporary duty suspension on infant formula imports. Via the NCBFAA Monday Morning eBriefing: Signed by President Biden on July 22, the Formula Act immediately grants a temporary suspension of duties on imports of certain infant formula products. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Trade has updated the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTSUS) file in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) to account for this legislation. Thus, the agency will provide duty-free treatment of the eligible infant formula products entered or withdrawn from the warehouse for consumption from July 22 through Dec. 31, 2022. Importers or customs brokers are required to classify infant formula products with the correct Chapter 19 or Chapter 21 HTS number and the corresponding Chapter 99 HTS number. See CSMS #52739058 for HTS number details. Questions or concerns regarding this guidance should be sent to the Office of Trade, Commercial Operations Revenue and Entry (CORE) Division at [email protected].
Shortages of chassis cause inland delays around the U.S. Import containers are piling up on inland ramps, rail yards, and marine ports as the demand for available chassis grows. While consumer preferences and demand are the clear drivers of chassis usage, two reasons remain for the chassis shortage: high dwell times and a slowdown of new manufacturing supplies from China. The consensus is that the chassis deficit will continue until 2023. It may take many months before enough chassis are ready to handle the flood of import containers clogging U.S. ports and inland rail ramps. As part of the Radiant network, we can leverage the collective to keep your supply chain moving forward, faster. Talk to a Radiant Road & Rail expert about your freight forwarding options and how to manage during the chassis shortage.
Research to begin on truck parking in Wisconsin and Iowa. A truck parking pilot study is underway by researchers from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and ParkUnload to better understand how truck drivers use existing parking spaces and to test the benefits of using a mobile parking app. The study is being funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration under a cooperative grant program and will select certain truck parking spaces along Interstate 80 in Iowa and along I-39/90/94 in Wisconsin.
BNSF continues westbound shipping embargo to August. The railroad said Wednesday that its temporary shipping embargo on food, fuel, and other commodities shipments would remain through August. The prohibition of several westbound loads to California was announced last month to reduce congestion, which has created delays for the railroad, shippers, ports, and other stakeholders. The shipping embargo follows calls from shippers and other stakeholders for officials to intervene to ease persistent rail delays.
STB to conduct hearing on CP/KCS merger. In September, the Surface Transportation Board will conduct a three-day hearing on the proposed merger between Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern to discuss issues during the proceeding. “I have strongly favored public hearings in our proceedings, which not only allow the board members to deeply explore the issues with our stakeholders but also advance transparency into our decision-making,” STB Chairman Marty Oberman said in a news release. “In light of the significant issues involved in the board’s consideration of the proposed CP-KCS transaction, it is essential that we hear directly from the applicants and our stakeholders and do so in public.” FreightWaves reports that the board also agreed to modify the procedural schedule so that final briefs will be due by Oct. 14 instead of Sept. 30.
International flights resume in Beijing. For the first time in over two years, Beijing welcomes direct inbound passenger flights from overseas as China begins to ease parts of its extreme pandemic protocols. Air China Ltd.’s website shows it restarted a direct flight from Paris once a week, while ANA will resume weekly flights from Narita in August. Meanwhile, state broadcaster China National Radio reported that Etihad Airways PJSC resumed direct flights to the capital in late June after China halved the time incoming travelers must spend in a quarantine facility to seven days. According to Bloomberg, Air China will gradually resume multiple international flights to Europe and Asia, while China Eastern Airlines Corp. plans to operate more than 130 international flights per week.
Maersk debuts inland service between India and Bangladesh. The new inland service from Maersk’s smallest container ship will provide a faster, more reliable inland waterways solution to move containers between India and neighboring Bangladesh, Maersk says. The service commenced with a shipment of 50 containers on a barge from Kolkata in India to a river port near Dhaka in Bangladesh. According to Vikash Agarwal, Managing Director, Maersk South Asia, “while the route has created trade opportunities for the two countries over the last decades, by advancing into containerized transport provides a safer option for cargo.” The first shipment on the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route was completed for Coca-Cola Bangladesh Beverages, according to Maritime Executive.
EU reaches gas deal. This week, the European Union states reached a deal to regulate emergency gas cuts ahead of winter. According to CNBC, the compromise means that the rationing would be binding in an emergency, but would initially exempt some nations and industries. The “gas war” between Russia and Europe is rattling the continent. A top German official described his country’s situation as “serious.”
Russia attacks Ukrainian port one day after grain deal signed. Russia attacked the Black Sea port of Odessa with missiles on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said, breaking a deal between Moscow and Kyiv that had been reached just one day prior. The deal was made to allow the shipment of millions of tons of trapped grain out of Ukraine and ease a global food crisis. A keystone of the deal is Russia’s promise not to attack Odessa and two other ports involved in the shipments. “This attack casts serious doubt on the credibility of Russia’s commitment to yesterday’s deal and undermines the work of the UN, Turkey, and Ukraine to get critical food to world markets,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement late Saturday.
Fabergé egg found aboard seized Russian yacht. The U.S. Justice Department’s mission to seize Russian megayachts has uncovered an interesting find aboard the recently captured yacht Amadea: a Fabergé egg. At the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday, U.S. deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco told attendees that a yacht seized in Fiji and recently delivered to San Diego turned out to have a special surprise on board, Maritime Executive reports. She did not name Amadea specifically, but it is the only yacht fitting that description. “We recovered a Fabergé – or alleged Fabergé egg – on one of these, so it just gets more and more interesting.” The Fabergé eggs are a series of intricate, handmade jeweled boxes and “surprises” produced primarily for the Romanov family in the waning years of the Tsardom of Russia. They are very rare – only 57 eggs are known to survive in museum collections, government ownership, or private hands. See a gallery of the known eggs here. The U.S. hopes to auction the seized assets of sanctioned Russian oligarchs and forfeit the proceeds from the DOJ’s “Project Klepto-Capture.” The Justice Department has asked Congress to create the legal authority to donate the funds from the project to Ukraine.