COVID-19 Latest UpdatesFreight Market Update

Container Reliability Trends Upward Over the Summer, Injunction Against AB5 Law Formally Lifted, Aviation Consumer Protection Website Now Live.

By September 1, 2022 No Comments

Ocean

Container reliability trends upward over the summer. The latest Global Liner Performance (GLP) report from Sea-Intelligence showed a 0.5% improvement in schedule reliability month-on-month in July 2022, bringing overall reliability to 40.5%. The latest figure is the second time schedule reliability was up on-year since the start of the pandemic, according to Seatrade Maritime. Maersk remained as the most reliable provider with schedule reliability of 48.0%, followed by Evergreen at 44.3%. At the bottom of the table, ZIM had the lowest schedule reliability in July 2022 of 26.6%.

Ports

U.S. ports continue to struggle despite shipments being down. The latest CNBC Supply Chain Heat Map shows that port congestion is not subsiding as Ocean carriers continue to cancel sailings through September. “It comes as no surprise ocean carriers are blanking (canceling) sailings,” said Alan Baer, CEO of OL USA. “It needs to be done to regain some sort of schedule reliability.” This comes even as container volume from China remains way down.

Customs

Ancient Egyptian artifact seized by CBP in Tennessee. Earlier this month, the United States Customs and Border Patrol seized a 3,000-year-old Egyptian artifact in Memphis, TN. In a statement, the agency said that officials intercepted the item after its shipper made contradictory statements about its declared value. Subject matter experts at the University of Memphis’ Institute of Egyptian Art and Archeology determined that the stone sculpture is the lid to an Egyptian canopic jar. The shipment was reportedly sent from a dealer to a private buyer in the U.S. and listed as an “antique stone sculpture over 100 years old.” The artifact is protected by bilateral treaties and falls under a federal law that subjects certain archaeological objects to seizure and forfeiture. According to the customs agency’s statement, the artifact in Memphis has been transferred to Homeland Security Investigations for further examination.

Trucking

Drivers leasing through Pathway ruled independent contractors. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower-court ruling that a group of drivers who were leasing their trucks from Pathway Leasing were not employees but rather independent contractors. The 15 plaintiffs were all drivers who leased trucks through Pathway and drove for XPO Logistics. The lower-court ruling determined if the Pathway lessees were independent contractors or employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act using the “economic realities” test, which uses six categories to establish the status of the employee.

Injunction against AB5 law formally lifted. According to a statement released by trucking-focused law firm Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, Federal District Court Judge Robert Benitez formally lifted the injunction that had been in effect since 2019 in a hearing on Monday. The lifting of the injunction puts into effect an April 2021 U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that overturned the original injunction handed down by Benitez. The appellate court ruling reversing the Benitez injunction allowed the injunction to stay in place while the California Trucking Association, which filed the original lawsuit in the case, pursued its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to FreightWaves

Rail

Three railroad unions close in on ending contract standoff. Three railroad unions have reached tentative labor contract agreements with U.S. freight railroads. The three unions are the Transportation Communications Union (TCU)/IAM (International Association of Machinists), Brotherhood of Railway Carmen and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Those unions will send out the tentative agreement to members for ratification, which calls for a 24% wage increase during the five-year period from 2020-24. The unions said that the tentative agreement enables employees to receive the highest general wage increases ever achieved through national bargaining, according to FreightWaves. The agreement also includes health care benefits, leave and vacation policies.

Air

UPS to expand fleet with 8 more Boeing freighters. UPS is expanding its freighter fleet with an order of eight additional B767 freighters due to be delivered from 2025. The order increases UPS’s B767F fleet to 108 aircraft and builds on the company’s order for 19 767Fs in December 2021, according to AirCargoNews. “The additional 767s will help us continue to deliver what matters to UPS customers around the world. This is a very versatile aircraft that we operate across every region of the globe,” said UPS executive vice president and president US Nando Cesarone. 

Aviation Consumer Protection website now live. The Department of Transportation’s website that will provide travelers with up-to-date status of their flights is now live. The Aviation Consumer Protection website includes flight status info for the 10 major airlines in the United States, as well as policies on meal vouchers and ground transportation options for both controllable cancellations and significant delays caused by the airline. “Passengers deserve transparency and clarity on what to expect from an airline when there is a cancelation or disruption,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “This dashboard collects that information in one place so travelers can easily understand their rights, compare airline practices, and make informed decisions. The Department will continue to support passengers and to hold airlines responsible for adhering to their customer obligations.”

International

Turkish government bans entry of decommissioned carrier over asbestos concerns. The government of Turkey has denied permission to scrap the decommissioned Brazilian Navy carrier NAe São Paulo. The former French Navy vessel (ex name Foch) likely contains a substantial amount of asbestos, environmentalists believe, and Turkey’s environment ministry said that it would not grant permission for the vessel to enter Turkish waters. “Due to the fact that the ‘Hazardous Goods Inventory Report’, which should be prepared by showing the places where asbestos and other dangerous substances are found on the ship plan and photographing the sampling points, was not submitted to our Ministry, it has been decided to cancel the conditional notification approval,” said Environment Minister Murat Kurum in a statement.

City of Shenzhen placed under lockdown. On Monday, China’s southern city of Shenzhen suspended public transport and shut down the world’s largest electronics market as authorities mandated neighborhood-wide lockdowns in response to a small number of Covid cases. Huaqiangbei, one of the world’s largest electronics markets, is among three neighborhoods placed under a mandatory four-day lockdown in Futian district, according to the district government. Residents in those neighborhoods are forbidden to leave their homes except for Covid testing, which they are required to undergo daily until Thursday, CNN reports.

Solomon Islands bans entry of foreign naval ships. In an attempt to protect its exclusive economic zones, the Solomon Islands has suspended entry into its territory for foreign navy ships until a new process for approval of port visits is enacted, according to the Prime Minister’s office. The step comes after an incident last week when a U.S. Coast Guard vessel was unable to make a routine port call because the government did not respond to a request for it to refuel and provision, according to NBC News. “We have requested our partners to give us time to review, and put in place our new processes, before sending further requests for military vessels to enter the country,” Prime Minister Manesseh Sogavare said in a statement. 

Other

Water distribution efforts fail in Jackson, MS. The main water treatment facility in Jackson, Mississippi began failing Monday, according to Gov. Tate Reeves. The National Guard was called to help distribute bottled water as crews work to get the water treatment plant back online after recent torrential rain coupled with years of water system issues have resulted in a crisis where the city doesn’t have enough water to fight fires, flush toilets or even hand out to residents in need. CNN reports that residents of all ages were seen waiting in lines more than a mile long at Hawkins Field Airport for at least two hours Tuesday for just one case of bottled water. Officials said the event was supposed to span three hours, but barely ran two as people were eventually turned away when the 700 cases of water ran out.