COVID-19 Latest Updates

House Passes Ocean Shipping Reform Act, U.S. Ready to Ban Imports from Xinjiang, 29 Truck Manufacturers Facing Recall Over Steering Loss.

By June 16, 2022 No Comments


Dry-bulk shipping spot rates drop. Spot rates dropped in the past week across dry bulk shipping as a result of spiking bunker prices, falling demand, and partying by shipowners. The Baltic Exchange’s Capesize 5TC, which averages spot rates for five key routes, fell 19% to $19,665 per day on Friday, June 10, while the Panamax 5TC dropped 17.5% to $23,662 per day. At the same time, China’s latest Covid-19 lockdown slammed the country’s iron ore demand, and India held off on coal imports as it braces for monsoons. 

House passes Ocean Shipping Reform Act. The U.S. House of Representatives has voted 369 to 42 to pass the Senate’s version of the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act. This will give the government’s shipping competition commission greater authority to help U.S. exporters. The bill was introduced in the Senate in February by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and gives the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) greater authority to regulate certain ocean carrier practices and to promote the growth and development of U.S. exports “through a maritime system that is transparent, efficient, and fair.” 


President Biden visits Port of Los Angeles. President Biden visited the Port of Los Angeles last week, where he discussed supply chain progress and challenges. He also addressed the issue of rising inflation, which he called his “top economic priority.” See the video here: 

U.S. container ports still reporting high throughputs. The ports of Long Beach, California, and Charleston, South Carolina, reported exceptionally strong throughputs for May. Long Beach had total throughput of 890,989 twenty-foot equivalent units, and imports totaled 436,977 TEUs. A spokesperson told American Shipper that it was “a great month” with throughput “well north of 900,000 TEUs.” On the East Coast, Charleston handled 255,104 TEUs in May (including imports, exports, and empties), up 11% year on year. It was the port’s third-highest monthly total in history, topped only by March 2022 (264,334 TEUs) and April 2022 (264,099 TEUs).


U.S. ready to ban imports from Xinjiang. U.S. authorities are poised to implement a ban on imports from China’s Xinjiang region when a law requiring it becomes enforceable later in June, a U.S. Customs official said on Wednesday, adding that a “very high” level of evidence would be required for an exemption. Reuters reports that in December, President Biden signed into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) in an effort to safeguard the U.S. market from products potentially tainted by human rights abuses in Xinjiang, where the U.S. government says China is committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims.

New NOA Form Effectively Immediately. Customs and Border Patrol CSMS #52176791 – New EPA Form 3540-1 Notice of Arrival of Pesticides and Devices (NOA). A new EPA Form 3540-1 has been approved by OMB. The new form provides clarity for some of the data elements and the instruction section of the form. There are no new data elements on the form. The new form has been uploaded to EPA’s website and disseminated to the EPA regions for use. EPA will continue to receive submissions of the old form through Friday, June 17, 2022. After June 17, 2022, the old form will be obsolete and EPA import specialists will return the old form to the importer (or their authorized agent) with a copy or web link to the new form. 


29 truck manufacturers facing recall over steering loss. More than 105,000 vehicles at 29 companies including most heavy-duty truck manufacturers are facing recalls because of missing parts that could lead to loss of steering. Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems subsidiary R.H. Sheppard reported the issue to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on May 28. The filing lists 29 customers including three subsidiaries of Daimler Truck North America; Volvo Trucks North America; Kenworth, Peterbilt, and Navistar, as well as multiple crane and heavy equipment manufacturers. Sheppard estimates 1% of 105,271 recalled vehicles could have the issue, which results from steering gears being assembled without the required number of recirculating balls.


Norfolk Southern launches new initiative to provide expedited intermodal service. Norfolk Southern launched a new initiative to provide expedited service between the East and West coasts with three partners: ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd, western U.S. Class I counterpart Union Pacific and the Port of Virginia. The partnership, named OceaNS Bridge Express, will provide shippers a new option to reach West Coast markets, and suggests that the four parties are seeking opportunities to maximize recent capital investments while also addressing ongoing congestion. The service will originate at the Norfolk International Terminal at the Port of Virginia and interchange with UP in Chicago. NS told FreightWaves that “the service aims to cut down travel time because it takes advantage of an additional call in Virginia, which was not previously an option. Containers traverse the remainder of the trip via NS and UP, instead of taking the Hapag-Lloyd ship all the way to Los Angeles or Oakland.” This service shortens transit time and prevents shippers from having to wait for space at the West Coast ports, according to NS. 

Ocean Network Express suing Union Pacific. Ocean Network Express, a Singapore-based company, has sued rail provider Union Pacific over packages it says were lost or stolen during the pandemic when train traffic slogged amid supply-chain slowdowns. Reportedly stolen from the trains’ cargo containers were solar panels and a big shipment of L-arginine, an amino acid used to build protein, according to the lawsuits. Ocean Network Express said it lost $166,000 worth of the amino acid after contracting with Union Pacific in June 2021 to transport it from St. Louis to the Los Angeles port, where it would then be shipped to Shanghai, China. 


Global air cargo traffic fell marginally in April. Global air cargo traffic fell 11.2% in April, including a 15.8% drop in Asia-Pacific demand. Industrywide cargo traffic in cargo tonne kilometers (CTKs) decreased in April due to the global supply chain and capacity challenges that continue to limit airfreight operations. April marks the second month of decline as the war in Ukraine continues to impact connectivity and capacity to Europe.

Cargolux adds new Ireland-U.S. freighter. Freighter carrier Cargolux has expanded its transatlantic services with a new route from the Republic of Ireland to the U.S. The flight will operate on a routing of Los Angeles, Seattle, and Shannon once per week utilizing one of the carrier’s B747 freighters, according to AirCargoNews. Cargolux explained that the introduction of Shannon is an opportunity for the freighter carrier to meet growing customer demand and expand its presence in the British Isles.

Delta Cargo assists Operation Fly Formula. Delta will work as part of Operation Fly Formula to supply much-needed baby formula to the U.S. from Europe. Delta Cargo will transport a total of 212,000 pounds of Kendamil baby formula from London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Boston Logan Airport (BOS) and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) over the course of 13 flights from June 20-24


Weekend quarantine measures in Shanghai impact exports. CNBC Supply Chain Heat Map provider OrientStar Group reports that Shanghai’s weekend quarantine of 15 out of its 16 districts affected the flow of exports bound for the Port of Shanghai. “Highways were closed because of this latest round of quarantine,” the logistics company told CNBC. “Trucks loaded with cargoes and containers were unable to enter the Shanghai terminal. Many clients have no choice but to change the loading ports to Ningbo or other outports along the Yangtze River.” The port of Ningbo became the alternative port for logistics during the two-month lockdown that started in April and as a result congestion at that port has been increasing.

South Korean truckers return to work after strike deal. Unionized truckers in South Korea are back on the roads after the union and the transport ministry reached a tentative agreement, ending a nationwide, eight-day strike that crippled ports and industrial hubs, Reuters reports. Shares in some affected industries rose after the strike had delayed cargo shipments from autos to cement and alcohol, costing South Korea more than $1.2 billion in lost output and unfilled deliveries.

Iran begins testing new trade corridor to ship Russian goods to India. Iran’s state-run shipping company began its first transfer of Russian goods to India using a new trade corridor that transits the Islamic Republic, an Iranian port official said. The Russian cargo consists of two 40-foot (12.192 meters) containers of wood laminate sheets, weighing 41 tons, that departed St. Petersburg for the Caspian Sea port city of Astrakhan, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said.


Global energy market takes hit after Texas LNG plant explosion.  Company officials at a major natural gas production facility in Texas say that an explosion last week could knock the plant off line for at least three weeks. This comes as global energy market supplies are already stretched thin. The cause of the blast at the Freeport LNG facility in Quintana is not clear, the company said. There were no injuries and all employees have been accounted for, spokeswoman Heather Browne told The Washington Post. Experts warn that a prolonged closure of the Freeport facility could have a significant effect on energy prices.

Amazon to begin delivering packages by drone to homes in Northern California this year. Residents of San Joaquin County farming towns Lockeford and Acampo, as well as parts of Lodi, will be able to order “thousands of everyday items” online and can expect a drone to drop them in their backyards in less than an hour, said Av Zammit, an Amazon spokesperson. 

U.S. inflation hits 40-year high. The increasing inflation rate puts pressure on the Federal Reserve to extend an aggressive series of interest-rate hikes. Labor Department data from June 10 showed that the consumer price index increased 8.6% from a year earlier. The inflation gauge rose 1% from a month earlier and the core CPI, which strips out the more volatile food and energy components, rose 0.6% from the prior month and 6% from a year ago.

Uber Eats launches free nationwide shipping. As of June 7, Uber Eats customers can now select “Home” on the app and scroll until the “Nationwide Shipping” tab is visible to view available restaurants with shipping available to any location in the continental U.S. More than 15 merchants currently offer the service.