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California Heat Wave Causing Grid Power Issues for Shipping Lines, CBP Warns Residents Against Phone and Email Scams, $85 Billion Transportation Plan Adopted by Texas.

By September 8, 2022 No Comments

Ocean

California heat wave causing grid power issues for shipping lines. Ocean-going vessels are being asked to avoid plugging into shore power for several days to reduce demand on the electric grid during a record heat wave in California. Officials are encouraging vessels to instead use dirtier energy sources for power at berth because the electric infrastructure installed to cut pollution is now under threat as a result of the heat wave. On Friday afternoon, CA governor Gavin Newsome issued an emergency proclamation aimed at preserving power capacity that gives vessel operators flexibility not to plug into on-dock electric power stations through next Saturday. Vessels berthed between Sept. 3 and Sept. 7 won’t be required to use shore power until next Sunday, FreightWaves reports.  

Ocean shipping rates dropped 60% in 2022. Freight rates on the main ocean trade routes are continuing to sink as a result of cargo owners shipping holiday goods early and a decrease in consumer demand because of inflation. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, The cost to ship a 40-foot container from China to the U.S. West Coast now stands around $5,400 a box, down 60% from January. A container shipped from Asia to Europe costs $9,000, 42% less than at the start of the year, according to the Freightos Baltic Index. The rate for both routes, while still above prepandemic levels, peaked at more than $20,000 last September. 

Ports

Ports of NY and NJ delay container imbalance fee implementation for another 3 months. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has again delayed the implementation of an “imbalance fee” that it planned to start charging carriers as of September first after blaming a backlog of containers at the port for contributing to the congestion and delays. The port claims to remain committed to the concept but reports that it will revise the approach before implementing the fee in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to Maritime Executive. The decision to defer the imbalance fee was made according to a report on CNBC after port officials had numerous discussions with ocean carriers. CNBC said that the meetings had “turned up what port officials described as unforeseen circumstances.” Reports said that the meetings with the carriers identified unanticipated consequences of the fee plan that need to be addressed. 

Customs

CBP warns residents against phone and email scams. Customs and Border Patrol recently warned in a media release to be on the lookout for phone and email scams. They said that people across the country have been receiving unsolicited calls from scammers posing as U.S. Border Patrol agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Residents are urged to not provide the caller with any information. The Department of Homeland Security and CBP does not solicit money over the phone, nor does it use Bitcoin other digital currency or gift cards. If a scam call is received, make a note of the number and any other pertinent details about the call and immediately hang up, and then report the incident to your local police department and the Federal Trade Commissioner at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/.

CBP officers seize record methamphetamine shipment at Del Rio Port of Entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at Del Rio Port of Entry completed the largest methamphetamine seizure in port history, valued at $11.9 million. “This is a massive seizure of methamphetamine, it is largest in the history of the port and it reflects the steadfast commitment of our officers to the CBP border security mission and their effective application of technology, training and experience,” said Port Director Liliana Flores, Del Rio Port of Entry. The seizure occurred on Monday at the Del Rio International Bridge when a CBP officer referred a 2016 Kenworth tractor hauling a shipment of diesel tank reservoir containers for a secondary inspection, CBP said in a media release. The tractor trailer was referred for a canine and non-intrusive inspection system examination, leading to the discovery of 320 packages containing 1,337 pounds of alleged methamphetamine within the shipment. 

Trucking

$85 billion transportation plan adopted by Texas. Texas governor Greg Abbott approved a plan put forward by the Texas Department of Transportation to spend a record $85 billion over 10 years to alleviate roadway congestion, enhance transportation safety and improve highways. “The state of Texas is working to ensure the transportation needs of our fast-growing state are met and that the safety of Texans on the roadways is protected,” Abbott said calling the plan “a critical step toward addressing the diverse needs of Texans in rural, urban and metropolitan communities.” He announced the unanimous adoption of TxDOT’s 2023 Unified Transportation Program, a 188-page construction planning and development document that guides work among 562 listed transportation projects throughout Texas.

Rail

San Jose State University aims to reduce climate impact on railroads. San Jose State University’s Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) is coordinating a consortium spanning multiple universities that will seek to address the effects of climate change on the American freight and passenger rail network. The group will establish a research and training program aimed at how railroads and associated stakeholders can address the impact of extreme weather events brought about by climate change. “Extreme weather and heat and their aftereffects can have catastrophic impacts. It threatens lives, destroys equipment, disrupts service and literally costs billions of dollars for response and recovery to the transport sector in the communities served,” MTI executive director Karen Philbrick, told FreightWaves.

Air

Second Lufthansa pilot strike averted after agreement reached. Following a strike last week that resulted in Lufthansa canceling 800 flights at its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, a second strike by Lufthansa pilots was averted at the last minute when the airline and union came to an agreement over future pilot pay. “The previous demand for automated inflation compensation has been replaced by a demand for an annual pay increase of 8.2% starting in 2023 – in addition to a 5.5% increase this year,” Lufthansa said. The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said “Fortunately, the cockpit association and Lufthansa agreed on a partial solution this Tuesday. A comprehensive package of monetary and structural issues was essentially agreed and is awaiting elaboration in the coming days.”

International

Liz Truss succeeds Boris Johnson as U.K. Prime Minister. On Tuesday, Liz Truss was appointed as the new U.K. prime minister. Truss faces an increasing pressure to ease labor unrest, curb soaring prices, and fix the country’s health care system. Truss plans to cap energy bills at a cost to taxpayers of as much as 100 billion pounds ($116 billion), British news media reported Tuesday. She is expected to unveil her plan on Thursday.

Empty container transportation center opens at Shanghai port. An empty container transportation center has opened in the world’s largest container port in Shanghai. The enormous new facility is located in the Yangshan Special Comprehensive Bonded Zone, and can reportedly handle 3m teu per year. “The new center will help us to apply digitized and intelligent management to promote communications between ports and shipping enterprises, so as to provide empty container services for shipping operators as well as customers in Northeast Asia, along the Yangtze River Delta region, and areas along the Yangtze River,” said Gu Jinshan, chairman of Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG). Maersk, CMA CGM, MSC and Evergreen have come onboard as partners in SIPG’s new empty container site, according to Splash247.

Other

UPS and Teamsters Union to begin contract negotiations in spring of 2023. UPS and the Teamsters Union will begin contract negotiations in the spring, ahead of their current contract’s expiration at the end of July, 2023. Labor experts are predicting that the drivers and package handlers will go on strike before the talks have even started. “The question is how long it will be,” said Todd Vachon, professor of Labor Relations at Rutgers. “The union’s president ran and won on taking a more militant approach. Even if they’re very close [to a deal], the rank and file will be hungry to take on the company.” An estimated 6% of the nation’s gross domestic product is moved in UPS trucks every year, according to CNN

New footage shows Titanic wreck in 8K. New footage captured by OceanGate Expeditions has been released showing the wreck of the RMS Titanic in full 8K quality, the highest screen resolution currently available. The video was on a recent visit to the site, which lies 2.4 miles below the surface of the North Atlantic, about 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland, Canada. Watch it here: