COVID-19 Latest Updates

USMCA is Here, Blank Sailings are Stacking Up, and COVID-19 Leaves Sailors Stranded at Sea

By July 2, 2020 No Comments

Customs 

NAFTA has officially been replaced by the USMCA as the North American trade deal. Despite months of negotiations and promises of a brand-new deal from the White House, Senator Chuck Grassley has stated that 95% of the new agreement is “the same as NAFTA.” American auto companies will be significantly impacted with the USMCA mandating more domestic component manufacturing and higher wage requirements for workers, and American dairy companies stand to gain with Canada agreeing to import more dairy products from the U.S.

Political tensions between China and India have boiled over to the freight market as Indian customs officials are holding all shipments from China for potential inspection. Major delays and congestion have ensued, and in response DHL Express has temporarily suspended India-bound bookings from China. 

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is requesting comments on Section 301 exclusions. Comments on the Section 301 List 4 exclusions, which are otherwise set to expire on September 1st, will be accepted until July 30th 

The USTR is proposing new and increased tariffs on $3.1 billion of European goods. Annex III of the trade action is open for comments until July 26thYou can comment on these, and other exclusion lists in their comments portal. 

Ocean 

Trans-Atlantic blank sailings are stacking upand experts predict that 10%-25% of capacity will be withdrawn from the Europe/Mediterranean to North American East Coast lanes through August 10. 

Two outbreaks of coronavirus on cargo ships last week highlighted a dire situation at sea. An estimated 200,000 crew members are stranded at sea as governments continue to bar crews from re-entering their home countries, and unions and shipping groups are growing increasingly concerned for the mental health of the crews and the health of international trade. 

Trucking 

Freight markets showed signs of life in May, as markets rebounded across the country. While U.S. trucking markets have been on a steady incline, eyes are turning toward states like Arizona, California, and Texas as they reinitiate lockdowns.  

Flatbed capacity remains extremely constrained, especially as summer construction resumes across the country. Major port areas around southern California, Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee are under constrained capacity, causing delays. 

Air 

Delta will resume operations at its O’Hare cargo facility today, after announcing a mysterious indefinite closure on Monday. After recent spikes in COVID-19 cases across the U.S., Delta has also announced that they may begin to cut flights for the rest of the summer. 

Ports 

Longshore workers are set to strike starting this afternoon at two Montreal terminals in an apparent attempt to prove the Canadian Industrial Relations Board wrong. In May, the board ruled that the longshore workers were non-essential. 

Other 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation last night to penalize banks doing business with Chinese officials in response to new security laws that China has imposed on Hong Kong. So far, no other trade measures have been imposed.