Freight Market Updates

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Radiant Logistics Announces Record Results For The Third Fiscal Quarter Ended March 31, 2022

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For Immediate Release Radiant Logistics Announces Record Results For The Third Fiscal Quarter Ended March 31, 2022 Reports quarterly results with revenues of $460.9 million, up $224.4 million or 94.9%;...

Celebrating Women’s History Month | Women In Logistics & Supply Chain

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Celebrating Women's History Month Get To Know Some of the Inspiring Women Leaders at Navegate March is Women's History Month — a time to honor the bravery and achievements of...
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Radiant Logistics Announces Results For The Second Fiscal Quarter Ended December 31, 2021

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For Immediate Release Radiant Logistics Announces Results For The Second Fiscal Quarter Ended December 31, 2021 Continues trend with another quarter of record results for the second quarter ended December...
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Navegate Announces Acquisition by Radiant Logistics

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For Immediate Release We are excited to announce the acquisition of Navegate, Inc. by Radiant Logisitics, Inc. Navegate, Inc., a Mendota Heights, Minn.-based technology-enabled logistics and supply chain management company,...

Supply Chain Effects From Ian Could Last for Weeks, Port of New York and New Jersey Takes Top Import and Export Spot, IBEW Becomes Third Union to Ratify Rail Labor Agreement.

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Ocean

Supply chain effects from Ian could last for weeks. Experts are predicting severe disruption to supply chains from power outages, flooding, and wind damage caused by Hurricane Ian that could stall freight movement through major airports, ports, highways and rail nodes. The storm could impact up to 2,800 manufacturing firms in aerospace, automotive components, heavy machinery, chemicals and plastics, as well as about 7,000 healthcare producers in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics and other fields.

2.6 million without power after Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Florida. According to poweroutage.us, almost 2.6 million homes and businesses were without power shortly after 8 a.m. ET as a result of Hurricane Ian. The hurricane hit land in southwestern Florida as a major Category 4 hurricane, just shy of a Category 5, as one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the U.S. President Biden approved a disaster declaration for Florida, allowing for the use of federal funds to supplement recovery efforts in areas impacted by the hurricane. The hurricane center said Ian’s eye  was “expected to move off the east-central coast of Florida soon and then approach the coast of South Carolina on Friday. The center will move farther inland across the Carolinas Friday night and Saturday. … Some re-intensification is forecast, and Ian could be near hurricane strength when it approaches the coast of South Carolina on Friday. Weakening is expected Friday night and Saturday after Ian moves inland.”

Hurricane Ian updates from Radiant Logistics: Check back for new information on Hurricane Ian and its impacts on freight as it becomes available here

For real-time updates in Florida, continue to check the following resources:

Ports

Port of New York and New Jersey takes top import and export spot. The Port of New York and New Jersey became the top port in the U.S. after moving 843,191 TEUs (imports + exports) in August. Traditionally in the top spots, the Ports of Long Beach and LA were second and third in cargo volume as a result of ongoing concerns about labor strikes and lockouts leading to trade moving away from the West Coast. “We are exceeding pre-Covid numbers. It is astonishing, and it is a credit to the men and women who are moving the cargo with such efficiency,” said Kevin O’Toole, chairman of the Port Authority. “Our planning with rail to complement the actual infrastructure and the dredging are allowing this added capacity that would not have happened four or five years ago.” According to CNBC, this August was the busiest August in the history of the Port of New York and New Jersey. 

Customs

CBP publishes privacy evaluation report of Traveler Verification Service. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations (OFO), and the Office of Privacy and Diversity (PDO) released a report of the Traveler Verification Service (TVS) in support of CBP’s Biometric Entry-Exit (BE-E) Program. The program is aimed at continuing efforts to promote organizational accountability and transparency, according to CBP. “The publication of this report underscores CBP’s commitment to promote transparency and accountability across the agency while ensuring that traveler data is well protected within our systems” said Matthew S. Davies, Executive Director of Admissibility and Passenger Programs in the Office of Field Operations at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. CBP said that the report found that OFO and the Office of Information Technology were utilizing TVS in support of the BE-E Program in a manner that is compliant with requirements in current privacy compliance documentation, DHS/CBP policy, and U.S. law. You can read the full report here. 

Trucking

Navistar announces third recall of trucks affected by faulty connecting rods. 8,002 trucks across four model lines in the U.S. and Canada have been recalled by Navistar because of faulty connecting rods, which previously led to two other recalls. All three actions account for 23,802 trucks sold between 2018 and 2021, according to FreightWaves. The latest recall affects certain International HV, HX, LT and RH models built between March 2017 and February 2020 that have International’s A26 engine. Navistar did not report any crashes or injuries related to the recall. Earlier recalls had projected failure rates of 17% and 13%. 

Rail

IBEW becomes third union to ratify rail labor agreement. The National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) announced on Sept. 28 that the membership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) has ratified the tentative rail labor agreement. IBEW is the third union to ratify the agreement resolving the current national bargaining round, according to Railway Age. Tentative agreements with nine other labor organizations remain subject to ratification. The ratification process is likely to continue through mid-November. All 12 unions have agreed to maintain the status quo until all union ratification votes are completed, no matter if any fail to ratify.

Air

Global demand for aviation fuel to return to pre-pandemic levels says Shell. The head of aviation at Shell estimated that global aviation fuel demand will fully recover to pre-pandemic levels in the next one to two years at a rate of 300 million tonnes per year. Demand in the United States is back up to the same levels as 2019, while Europe’s consumption is on track for full recovery in the next year after rising more than 80%, Shell Aviation President Jan Toschka told Reuters at the 38th Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC).

Justice Department brings airlines to court over 2021 deal. The Justice Department brought American Airlines and JetBlue Airways to court in Boston this week in a bid to dissolve a year-and-a-half-old pact between the airlines in the Northeast U.S. The carriers argue the deal between them, allows them to better compete against larger airlines. American Airlines and JetBlue launched their alliance in the Northeast in 2021, and the agreement allows them to coordinate routes and allow passengers to book on each other’s sites. The Justice Department said that the deal would drive up airfare. Last September, the Justice Department along with the attorneys general of six states and the District of Columbia sued to block the partnership, according to CNBC.

International

British pound falls to record low against U.S. dollar. On Monday, the British pound crashed to a record low against the U.S. dollar plunging nearly 5% to just above $1.03. The crash came during trading in Asia and Australia and extended a dive of 3.6% from Friday. It rose back up to $1.07 as European traders came online. The dive happened amid growing fears about the stability of the UK government’s finances following British Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng’s announcement last week that the United Kingdom would implement the biggest tax cuts in 50 years, while at the same time as boosting government borrowing and spending in the face of high inflation, according to CNN

Other

Nasa and Google team up to offer an interactive online solar system experience. Take a break and peruse this 3D adventure through our cosmic neighborhood created by Google and NASA.  

Suez Canal Transit Tolls to be Raised Again, Renewal of FDA Food Facility Registration Begins Oct. 1, FAA Rejects Proposal to Cut Hours Required for Pilot Training.

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Ocean

Suez Canal transit tolls to be raised again. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced last weekend that it will raise the transit tolls for vessels crossing the Suez Canal again, effective January 2023. The SCA said in a statement that transit fees will increase by 15 percent for “all types of vessels except for dry bulk ships and cruise ships, which will see an increase of 10 percent In justifying the fee hike.” SCA’s Chairman and Managing Director, Osama Rabie, said that the Canal’s flexible pricing strategy is dictated by real-time changes to the global economy, according to Maritime Executive. “Increased transit tolls come in light of SCA’s keeping up-to-date with all the market changes in the maritime transport which monitor the ever-increasing daily charter rates for most types of vessels that reached unprecedented levels, and the forecast for next year shows a continuation in this rise,” said Rabie. 

Ports

Port of LA sees 15% decrease in container volume handled. The Port of LA handled an estimated 806,000 teu in August this year, 15% lower than the same period last year, marking an end to the surge in cargo seen in the latter half of 2021 through to July 2022. The Port of LA saw a 17% drop in loaded imports 404,000 teu in August, while loaded exports decreased 1% to 100,000 teu, compared to August 2021, according to Seatrade Maritime. The volume of empty containers handled declined by 18% to 301,000 teu. At the Port of Long Beach, 860,940 teu was handled in August, down just 0.1% on the same month in 2021. Imports were down 5.6% to 384,530 teu and exports increased 1.6% to 121,408 teu. Empty containers increased 7.2% to 301,001 teu. The drop in imports at the Port of LA comes at a time when volumes traditionally begin to ramp up ahead of the peak holiday season.

Customs

Renewal of FDA Food Facility Registration Begins Oct. 1. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Facility Registration Renewal will begin Oct. 1 and continue through Dec. 31, 2022. All food facilities must submit a timely renewal. Failure to do so will cause products to be denied entry into the U.S. A DUNS number for the food facility location must be provided as part of the FDA renewal. In the past, FDA has been flexible, allowing the use of “pending” if a DUNS’ number could not be obtained. However, the FDA will no longer offer such flexibility. See these helpful tips from the FDA and this Webinar for more information.

Trucking

Amazon signs deal with Infinium to supply fossil fuel alternative to trucking fleet. Beginning in 2023, Amazon is aiming to power its transport vehicles with ultra-low carbon electrofuels.  On Monday, Amazon signed an agreement with Infinium, a renewable fuels technology company, which is expected to initially supply enough electrofuels to power Amazon trucks in lieu of diesel fuel for approximately 5 million miles of travel per year. Electrofuels are a fossil fuel alternative created from carbon waste and renewable energy. The agreement is aimed at Amazon’s commitment to find ways to deliver packages to customers in more sustainable ways.

Tesla looking to build domestic lithium refinery in Texas. Tesla Inc. is looking to create a domestic lithium supply chain for EV batteries as demand for electric vehicles surges across the world. A notice was recently filed by Tesla seeking tax breaks for a proposed lithium refinery to be located in Robstown, Texas, less than 200 miles from its Gigafactory in Austin. Tesla stated that the proposed lithium refinery would “process raw ore material into a usable state for battery production,” according to an application with the Texas Comptroller’s office dated Aug. 22. If approved, Tesla could begin construction on the refinery as early as the end of this year, and production could begin in 2024. As of yet, Tesla has not received any regulatory permits and said its final decision will be dependent on how much state and local property tax relief it can receive, stating it’s a “determining factor for investment in Texas,” according to FreightWaves.

Rail

Business groups lobby Congress to pass legislation to mitigate railroad disruptions. Business groups are arguing that more needs to be done to address poor rail service following the  avoidance of  a nationwide shut down last week that would have devastated an already ailing U.S. economy. Groups such as carmakers, farmers, retailers, and other rail customers are lobbying Congress to pass legislation that would cut down on chronic disruptions, The Hill reports. “There’s a lot of folks who are now aware of just how important railroads are to our economy. And now with a spotlight on them, they’re finding out that things are not what they could be or what they should be,” said Chris Jahn, president of the American Chemistry Council, which represents firms that primarily transport products to manufacturers by train.

Air

FAA rejects proposal to cut hours required for pilot training. On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that it rejected a proposal to cut the number of hours required to become a co-pilot in half. In April, Republic Airways proposed that pilots be allowed to join an airline after just 750 hours of flight time upon completion of the carrier’s training program. Currently 1,500 hours of flight time are required before a new pilot can fly commercially, with exception for certain military experience that cuts the requirement in half. The FAA’s decision to reject the proposal comes as airlines face a severe shortage of pilots.

25 United Airlines planes grounded after missed inspections. United Airlines was forced to ground a number of aircraft earlier this week after discovering they had not received some necessary routine inspections. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the airline grounded 25 Boeing 777 aircraft to comply with the inspection requirements, according to ABC News. Thousands of stranded and inconvenienced passengers had to be rerouted by airline reservation specialists over the last few days because of the fiasco.

International

Shanghai unveils plans for $257 billion in infrastructure projects. On Tuesday, the commercial hub of Shanghai in China announced plans for eight infrastructure projects with total investment of 1.8 trillion yuan ($257 billion). The plans come  after the city was hit hard by COVID-19 lockdowns in April and May, and the local economy fell 13.7% in the second quarter. 

Putin announces mobilization of Russian military reserves. On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin announced the partial mobilization of military reservists in Russia, causing panic among the U.N. and Russian people. This act is a significant escalation of the war between Russia and Ukraine and comes after setbacks on the battlefield have the Kremlin facing growing pressure to act. Putin also said in a national address that he backed plans for Russia to “annex occupied areas of southern and eastern Ukraine, and appeared to threaten nuclear retaliation if Kyiv continues its efforts to reclaim that land,” according to NBC News. This news comes just a day after four Russian-controlled areas in Ukraine announced they would stage votes this week on breaking away from the country and joining Russia. 

World’s largest immersed tunnel in works between Denmark and Germany. The world’s longest immersed tunnel is in the works between Denmark and Germany and is set to be completed in 2029. Construction started on the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel began in 2020 after nearly a decade of planning. A temporary harbor has been completed on the Danish side that will host the factory to build the 89 massive concrete sections that will make up the tunnel. The tunnel will be 18 kilometers long and in some areas will reach depths of 40 meters below the Baltic Sea. It’s one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects, with a construction budget of over 7 billion euros. The crossing between Germany and Denmark takes 45 minutes by ferry, it will take just seven minutes by train and 10 minutes by car once the tunnel is completed.

Railway Strike Averted After Tentative Labor Agreement Reached, Empty Containers Could Saturate Global Ports in 2023, Lower Gas and Car Prices Help Slow Inflation.

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Rail

Railway strike averted after tentative labor agreement reached. A tentative railway labor agreement has been reached, said President Joe Biden in a statement released Thursday. This action averted a strike that could have been potentially disastrous to the economy and U.S. supply chain. The 12 labor unions of the nation’s Class I railroads—CN, Norfolk Southern, CSX, CP, BNSF, and UP —were expected to strike beginning at midnight on Friday if new contracts had not been completed and approved. Some railroads had already warned their customers of possible service interruptions and stopped taking certain cargoes in advance of the anticipated shutdown, according to NCBFAA. Negotiations between railroads and union representatives had gone on for 20 hours at the Labor Department on Wednesday to come to a deal. The five-year deal is retroactive to 2020 and includes the $5,000 in bonuses and 24% raises that a Presidential Emergency Board recommended this summer. The railroads have also agreed to ease strict attendance policies in order to address unions’ concerns about working conditions. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to an International Navegate expert at [email protected]

Ocean

Navy seeks public opinion on fate of decommissioned USS Enterprise. The U.S Navy is currently facing a dilemma regarding the decommissioned USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Officially decommissioned in 2017, the carrier sits in Virginia and costs millions of dollars annually in maintenance costs but could require more than a billion dollars and up to 15 years to safely dismantle, according to Maritime Executive. The Navy drafted a 586-page report exploring options for what to do with the vessel. In the next phase, the Navy is asking for public input during a 45-day public scoping period. “The Navy is committed to facilitating public and agency participation and input to ensure a complete environmental analysis and to make informed decisions. Public input and involvement are fundamental aspects of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process,” said the Navy in the report. 

Government watchdog calls on Maritime Administration to increase oversight of government shipments. A lack of oversight by maritime regulators is “allowing federal agencies to evade laws requiring that certain amounts of international cargoes move on U.S.-flag ships,” according to government watchdogs. A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report will be the focus of a congressional hearing Wednesday. The report, “Actions Needed to Enhance Cargo Preference Oversight,” concluded that the public lacks information on whether agencies such as the U.S. Defense and Agriculture departments are meeting federal cargo preference requirements. Additional efforts by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) to develop regulations and enforce compliance are needed to rectify the situation. “MARAD’s maritime goals and objectives establish the importance of enforcing cargo preference requirements,” GAO stated. “More specifically, MARAD’s 2020 National Maritime Strategy established the objective of improving the capability of U.S.-flag vessels through a combination of efforts including enforcement of cargo preference requirements.” 

Ports

Empty containers could saturate global ports in 2023. The continuous build-up of empty containers at ports around the world has been contributing to the backlogs and disruption in the supply chains, and according to a new analysis from Denmark-based data analytics firm Sea-Intelligence, a return to normal in shipping could inundate ports with even more empty containers by early next year. “If transportation time is back to normal by early next year, we will see the release of 4.3 million TEU of excess containers into North America, which cannot be expatriated, within the planned network operations,” warns Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence. “This will potentially overwhelm empty container depots in the U.S., an issue which is already beginning to materialize.” 

Typhoon forces the closure of China’s Shanghai and Ningbo ports for second time in ten days. The ports of Shanghai and Ningbo closed for the second time in 10 days following another typhoon, with forwarders expecting a “ripple effect” of shipping delays. Typhoon Hinnamor caused Shanghai, Ningbo and Busan to suspend operations last week, and weaker typhoon Muifa was on a direct path to hit Shanghai on Wednesday, according to the US Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Norman Global Logistics (NGL) told customers Shanghai’s Yangshan container terminals were due to stop gate-in handling by 7pm local time today, while both Waigaoqiao and Yangshan terminals would be fully closed by 8am tomorrow morning, according to the Loadstar.

Customs

100 lbs of contraband cheese seized by CBP. An interesting discovery was made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at a Texas border crossing last week. A woman attempted to enter the U.S. with 100 pounds of undeclared cheese. The woman initially declared 10 wheels of cheese, but found an additional 50 wheels of undeclared cheese hidden “under blankets in the back row of the vehicle,” when they inspected her car. The cheese was seized and destroyed, and the woman received a $1,000 civil penalty. 

Trucking

Lower gas and car prices help slow inflation. U.S. inflation slowed for the second month in August as a result of lower gas prices and cheaper used cars, however many other items continued to rise in price. Consumer prices were 8.3% higher in August compared with a year earlier, the government said Sept. 13. That was down from an 8.5% jump in July and a four-decade high of 9.1% in June. On a monthly basis, prices rose 0.1%, after a flat reading in July, according to Transport Topics.

Bill introduced to pay truckers for overtime hours. A bill was introduced in the Senate this week to “ensure that truckers are compensated fairly for the hours that they are on the clock.” The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act was introduced September 12 by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.). According to CDL Life, the bill would “repeal the motor carrier provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), which excludes many truckers from overtime protections enjoyed by other workers.”

Air

UAE approves temporary license for first electric cargo plane. The first all-electric, zero-emissions cargo plane in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) just received approval for a temporary license. In a tweet, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, said: “In the Council of Ministers, we approved the temporary license for the first cargo plane in the region that operates entirely on clean electric energy and without any emissions, an important step that may contribute to changing the future of the shipping sector and its environmental impacts.” The air cargo industry is busy investing in electric aircraft for logistics on a smaller scale, especially for last-mile delivery initiatives. 

Due to environmental concerns, Israel prohibits Boeing 747 freighters from serving the country. 747 freighters will no longer be allowed to fly to Israel beginning next spring. On March 31, 2023, a ban on four-engine aircraft will come into effect in the country, after which 747’s will only be admitted under exceptional circumstances. The ban was announced by the Israel Airport Authority, which cited sustainability and environmental concerns. The ban will have no impact on passenger operations.

International

Australian energy companies looking to build infrastructure for domestic LNG supply. Australia is one of the world’s leading exporters of liquefied natural gas, and Australian energy companies are racing to build infrastructure for domestic supply amid rising demand and inflated prices. LNG terminal projects have been undertaken in Australia before, but many were scrapped or delayed because of the hefty cost to liquefy gas for export to distant destinations. Conditions have changed rapidly, partly due to a push away from carbon-intensive fuels, and partly due to gas shortages in population centers in southeastern Australia.

Port of Felixstowe dock workers overwhelmingly reject new contract offer, plan for another strike as soon as Sept. 27. Dock workers at the port of Felixstowe rejected a pay deal imposed by management, paving the way for a new round of industrial action and disruption to vital trade flows. Bloomberg reports that 82% of votes cast in a ballot of Unite union members opposed a 7% raise and £500 bonus to be implemented by the UK arm of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. Last month, Felixstowe was hit by eight days of walkouts involving almost 2,000 staff members. Unite is pressing for a raise of at least 10% amid soaring inflation. UK unions must give 14 days notice of action, so that the next strikes at Felixstowe could start from Sept. 27. The strikes could overlap with the second half of a two-week walkout by more than 500 Unite members at the Port of Liverpool.

Other

Minnesota nurses go on strike. 15,000 nurses in Minnesota went on strike this past Monday. The nurses said they are fighting for better staffing and better care for their patients. Mary Turner, a Covid ICU nurse and president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, said “we are not on strike for our wages. We’re fighting for the ability to have some say over our profession and the work life balance.” The strike is against 13 hospitals in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region and Duluth. Turner said the union members voted to limit the strike to three days at this time. She said she “hopes management will now be willing to negotiate on the staffing and work rules issues that led to the walk-out,” according to CNN.

Trevor Milton, Nikola founder, on trial for securities fraud. Nikola Corp founder Trevor Milton is currently on trial for securities fraud after becoming a billionaire by lying to investors about the most important aspects of his low-emission vehicle company, a prosecutor told jurors as Milton’s fraud trial began on Tuesday. Prosecutors alleged that Milton sought to deceive investors about the electric- and hydrogen-powered truck maker’s technology, beginning in November 2019. Milton left the company after a report by short seller Hindenburg Research called the company a “fraud” in September 2020. Milton currently pleads not guilty to two counts of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud.

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.

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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: 

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

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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.

Congestion to Continue Amid Peak Freight Season, Price of Ship Fuel Continues to Sink, New Cargo Terminal Opens at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport.

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Ocean

Congestion to continue amid peak freight season. Projections indicate that it could be long into 2023 before a stabilization in freight rates happens as supply chains around the world continue to be vulnerable to interruptions or disruptions. More sailings are expected to be canceled as manufacturers will be shut down so less trade will move out of the ports as we head into Golden Week, the eight-day holiday in the first week of October in China. The next phase of the IMO program to reduce carbon emissions in maritime will take vessels out of rotation, putting more pressure on freight prices, according to CNBC. 

Price of ship fuel continues to sink. Following an extreme spike after Russia invaded Ukraine, the price of fuel for commercial ships hit all-time highs in May and June. In July, however, the price of ship fuel began to plummet and is now sitting nearly at prewar levels. According to Ship & Bunker, the average price for fuel known as very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO, sulfur content: 0.5%) at the world’s top 20 refueling hubs was $800 per ton as of Friday, down 29% from the all-time high of $1,125.50 on May 14, according to FreightWaves

Ports

Mojave Inland Port moves forward with plans to ease seaport congestion. Officials in California recently approved the site plan for the Mojave Inland Port project to move forward with a transportation and logistics hub “aimed at being a critical relief valve for West Coast gateways choking with container traffic,” according to FreightWaves. Richard Kellogg, chair of Pioneer Partners, said that “the root cause of the congestion is that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have run out of land, and the Los Angeles Basin in general has run out of land for big logistics centers.” The port is being developed by Houston-based Pioneer Partners on about 400 acres of land the firm already owns, about 90 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The port will be a container hub that will receive cargo by rail from Los Angeles and Long Beach and transfer it to trucks for further nationwide distribution. 

Centerm congestion impact on service. This week, Maersk released the third update in continuation to previous advisories on the situation in Western Canada and significant congestion at Centerm. Read the full impact update here.

Customs

Adjustment of certain COBRA customs user fees. CSMS #53027584: Adjustment of certain COBRA customs user fees and limitations for Fiscal Year 2023 will deploy in the Certification and Production environments on August 25, 2022. The adjustments include, but are not limited to:

  • Formal MPF (499) limits changed to minimum $29.66 / maximum $575.35;
  • Informal MPF (automated and not prepared by CBP personnel) (311) changed to $2.37;
  • Dutiable Mail Fee (496) changed to $6.52; 
  • Surcharge for Manual Entry or Release (500) changed to $3.56.

These adjusted fee amounts and limitations will be applied to importations effective October 1, 2022. Note that the new amount will be in effect for a summary pre-filed prior to October 1, 2022 if the relevant entry date is on or after October 1, 2022. An updated version of the ACE CATAIR Entry Summary Create/Update is posted to CBP.gov. 

Trucking

Heartland Express acquires CFI assets in deal to create 8th-largest US truckload fleet. This week, Heartland Express announced their acquisition of Contract Freighters Inc.’s (CFI) truckload unit and its logistics unit in Mexico from TFI International for $525 million. The acquisition will make Heartland the eighth-largest TL fleet and the third-largest asset-based, irregular route carrier in the U.S., with approximately 5,550 tractors, 17,800 trailers and $1.3 billion in annual revenue, according to FreightWaves

Cummins to utilize Gatik tech in some trucks. Cummins recently announced its plans to integrate autonomous technology from Gatik with Cummins’ drive-by-wire solution. The combined solution will be used on Isuzu Class 6 FTR model box trucks with the Cummins B6.7 engine. Gatik has been using the Isuzu model in its fleet, most recently adding the trucks to a pilot in Texas. In that effort, Gatik has partnered with KBX Logistics to haul product from Georgia-Pacific facilities in the area to 34 local Sam’s Club stores, according to FreightWaves.

Rail

Railroads still in talks to avoid worker strikes this fall. Last week, a board appointed by the Biden administration issued a set of recommendations aimed at resolving a dispute between unions and rail companies. Failure for the two sides to come to an agreement could result in a national rail strike of 115,000 workers this fall, ahead of midterm elections, according to Bloomberg Law’s Ian Kullgren

Air

New cargo terminal opens at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport. The new Zhengzhou North Cargo Terminal at the Henan Province hub of the Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport has begun to receive shipments as it prepares for full opening. The 160,000 sq m terminal will add 600,000 tons of freight capacity, bringing the airport’s total air cargo capacity to 1.1m tons, according to AirCargoNews. “The Zhengzhou Terminal has been growing in importance as China’s Central Plains area continues to open up to more manufacturing and trade activity,” freight forwarder Dimerco Express said. The new terminal offers automated scanning, weighing and cargo transport, and has a large cold chain area, a new customs inspection area, and 101 shipping docks. 

International

Port of Felixstowe workers begin strike. An eight day strike began this week at the busiest container port in the U.K. Workers at the Port of Felixstowe are striking over pay, joining workers from other parts of the transportation sector in the U.K. who have already gone on strike this year. The week of the strike could cost the U.K. economy an estimated £700 million, or $824 million in trade.

Other

DOL accuses Hyundai supplier of violating child labor laws. This week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) accused a Korean-owned auto parts maker and supplier of Hyundai Motor Co of violating federal child labor laws at an Alabama factory, federal court filings reviewed by Reuters show. According to filings on Monday with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, the DOL said that SL Alabama LLC, a subsidiary of South Korea’s SL Corp (005850.KS), employed underage workers at its Alexander City, Alabama factory. SL Alabama “repeatedly violated” labor regulations by “employing oppressive child labor” and “minors under the age of 16,” since last November, the DOL said in a six-page complaint.

Theories of giant waves that suddenly appear and vanish. Here’s an interesting read: “Maritime folklore tells stories of giant waves that suddenly appear on the ocean and disappear just as quickly. While many people dismiss the existence of such waves as mythology, there are accounts of oil rigs and ships having encountered giant waves and giant troughs that suddenly appear and disappear. There are theories that seek to explain such occurrences that could occur more frequently as a result of climate change.” You can read the full story here. 

Porsche auctions “Cars” model for record-breaking $3.6 million. Porsche recently announced it would be building a 911 inspired by Sally Carrera from Pixar’s Cars, complete with the bright blue paint and special design cues. That one-off Sally proved to be a hot commodity– it just sold for a record-breaking $3.6 million at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction. Porsche said via press release that the winning offer came via telephone, and the bidder is anonymous at this time. The record-breaking bid made this car the most expensive new Porsche ever sold at auction. The money is going to two charities: Girls Inc. and USA for UNHCR.

Porsche Sally Car

AB5 Protests Cause Cargo Volume Drop at Port of Oakland, FMC Requests Public Comment on Emergency Order Issuance, Sichuan Factories Shutdown Amid Scorching Heatwave.

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Ocean

Container spot rates are declining fast. According to The Loadstar, container spot rates are falling rapidly on all export routes from China during a historically high demand season. Spot rates are falling across the U.S. east and west coasts as average wait times at Los Angeles and Long Beach terminals fall to three days. In the coming period, ocean carriers will most likely seek to blank as much capacity as possible.

U.S. supply chain faces international obstacles. The U.S. supply chain is facing more trade hurdles as a result of international issues. Shanghai factories have suspended production due to power rationing, and Sichuan, home to some large lithium producers, is also shuttered due to government power rationing. Meanwhile, a pileup of German import containers is expected to extend into the first quarter of 2023, CNBC reports

Ports

RAISE grants awarded to transport projects. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the award of $2.2bn of grants for 166 projects to modernize transport infrastructure under the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity program. The goal of the project is to “modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports and intermodal transportation and make our transportation systems safer, more accessible, more affordable and more sustainable,” according to a Friday news release. Port projects received nearly $57M in infrastructure grants from the program. A full list of the approved projects can be found here.

AB5 protests cause cargo volume drop at Port of Oakland. Port officials said this week that cargo operations at the Port of Oakland fell sharply in July as a result of trucker protests over the AB5 law. The protests slowed the movement of imports and exports through the Port of Oakland in July, causing the number of containers handled to fall by more than 45,000 in July compared to July 2021, a 28 percent drop. CBS reports that the volume of inbound goods dropped by nearly 27 percent while outbound goods saw a nearly 31 percent drop during the same year-over-year period. Port of Oakland maritime director Bryan Brandes said that “the Port was closed nearly a week last month due to the trucker protests voicing concern over AB5. This congestion reduced our overall July volume.”

Customs

AZ border wall delayed after shipping containers fell over. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey attempted to use shipping containers to close a 1,000-foot gap in the U.S.-Mexico border wall near Yuma, however the effort suffered a brief setback when two stacked containers somehow toppled over. Claudia Ramos, a correspondent for the digital platform of Univision Noticias in Arizona, posted a photo of the fallen containers on her Twitter feed. She said they fell on the U.S. side of the border, according to Yahoo News. Ramos said contractors in the area told her that “they believed the containers may have been toppled by strong monsoon winds.”

FMC requests public comment on emergency order issuance. The Federal Maritime Commission is seeking public input on whether congestion in the carriage of goods has created an emergency situation that has a significant negative impact on the competitiveness and reliability of the international ocean transportation supply system. The information received in response to this request will aid the Commission’s decision on whether an emergency situation exists and whether an emergency order should be issued to address it. On or before September 14, 2022, you can send an email to [email protected] with your comments.

Trucking

Trailer orders drop in July, stretching replacement cycle. July trailer orders declined 28% from June, pushing the replacement equipment calendar further into 2023 as most manufacturers are continuing to pump the brakes on bookings. Most OEMs are unable to accurately price new equipment as fleets are waiting to place orders as a result of volatile commodity prices for materials like steel and aluminum. 

Rail

Major freight railroads may reach new deal with workers following presidential report. Representatives for BNSF, Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, CSX and other railroads said this week that even though the report issued by the Presidential Emergency Board that Joe Biden appointed last month calls for higher raises than the companies had proposed, they “want to reach an agreement to avoid a strike,” according to Transport Topics. The board appointed by President Joe Biden to intervene in stalled railroad contract talks suggested that 115,000 rail workers should get 24% raises and thousands of dollars in bonuses as part of a new agreement to avert a strike. Those recommendations will be used by railroads and unions as the basis for a new round of negotiations over the next month. Federal law would allow for a strike or lockout if the two sides can’t agree on a new deal by mid-September, but Congress is likely to intervene prior to the deadline to keep the supply chain moving.

Air

American Airlines to purchase 20 supersonic planes from Boom. On Tuesday, American Airlines announced that they have agreed to purchase 20 supersonic Overture planes from Boom Supersonic. United Airlines made a commitment last year to buy 15 Overture jets, making the deal with American Airlines the second firm order in the last two years for Boom. “Passengers want flights that are faster, more convenient, more sustainable and that’s what Overture delivers,” Boom CEO Blake Scholl told CNBC. “Flight times can be as little as half as what we have today, and that works great in networks like American where we can fly Miami to London in less than five hours.”

International

Sichuan factories shutdown amid scorching heatwave. All factories in China’s Sichuan province were ordered to shut down for six days to ease a power shortage in the region as a blistering heat wave hit the country. Sichuan is a key manufacturing location for the semiconductor and solar panel industries, and the region’s power rationing will hit factories belonging to some of the world’s biggest electronics companies, including Apple supplier Foxconn and Intel. The province is also a hub for lithium mining, a key component of electric car batteries. Analysts say that the shutdown may push up the costs of the raw material. 

Other

Biden Signs Major Climate and Health Care Bills. President Joe Biden signed Democrats’ historic climate change and health-care legislation into law on August 16. The legislation includes the largest federal investment in climate change history – $375 billion over a decade – and would cap prescription drug costs for Medicare recipients at $2,000 out-of-pocket per year. It would also assist an estimated 13 million Americans in affording health insurance by extending subsidies provided during the coronavirus pandemic. The measure is funded by new corporate taxes and increased IRS enforcement of wealthy individuals and entities, with additional funds going to reduce the federal deficit.

Blue Origin landing ship headed to scrapper. The former Stena vessel acquired four years ago by Jeff Bezos’s space company Blue Origin left the Port of Pensacola this week en route to the scrapyards of Brownsville, Texas. The 10,000 dwt ro/ro cargo ship named Stena Freighter was sold to Bezos in August 2018, who had a vision of turning the ship into an autonomous Landing Platform Vessel.

CBP Announces Enhancements to O’Hare Global Entry technology, Fertilizer Shippers Want Carrier Reforms, UPS to Reduce Surcharges on Some International Services.

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Ocean

DOT data sharing partnerships aim to improve supply chain. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is developing its industry partnership, Freight Logistics Optimization Works (FLOW) as part of its efforts to enhance U.S. supply chain operations and fortify it along all its elements from the shipping companies to terminals, intermodal operators, and shippers. One of the key initiatives of the development is the sharing of data among the partners and with DOT to identify and manage problems along the supply chain, Maritime Executive reports. DOT reports that the number of companies participating in the program has doubled since its launch in March, and DOT expects membership will continue to grow in the coming months.

Ports

FMC Chairman says that lines should subsidize costs of port congestion. After a meeting last week at the Port of New York and New Jersey, US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) chairman Daniel Maffei said: “When ocean carriers continue to bring thousands of containers per month to a port and only pick up a fraction of that number, it creates an untenable situation for terminals, importers and exporters, trucking companies, and the port itself. The commission has already been investigating reports of carriers charging per diem container charges even when the shipper or trucker cannot possibly return the container due to terminal congestion. I will ask that this investigation be broadened and intensified to cover instances where shippers and truckers are being forced to store containers or move them without proper compensation.” Read more of Maffei’s statement at Splash247

Customs

CBP intercepts large shipment of exotic reptiles and insects during inspection. It’s not every day that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Hidalgo International Bridge intercepts 95 specimens of exotic reptiles and insects during an outbound inspection.“CBP enforces laws and regulations from many state and federal organizations, exotic reptiles and insects are a rare find and we rely on our law enforcement partners to assist with such findings,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry. CBP OFO arrested the individuals who attempted to import the creatures on August 3 and seized the vehicles. The insects and reptiles were turned over to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the case remains under investigation by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), according to a CBP release.

CBP announces enhancements to O’Hare Global Entry technology. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that technological enhancements to the Global Entry kiosks at Chicago O’Hare International Airport would be taking effect as of August 9. According to a media release, the upgraded facial biometric kiosks will eliminate paper receipts and leverage mobile officer technology to provide a “secure, streamlined, and touchless experience” for Global Entry members traveling internationally, while protecting the privacy of all travelers. “We are excited to begin processing Global Entry members with our new touchless and receiptless kiosks at Chicago O’Hare International Airport,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “This innovative solution enhances our Global Entry program for both travelers and officers by adding an extra layer of security, reducing physical touchpoints, and expediting member processing.” You can see all of the changes at the Trusted Traveler Programs website

Trucking

Drop in Gas prices led to unchanged U.S. consumer prices in July. U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in July due to a sharp drop in the cost of gasoline. After advancing 1.3% in June, The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was flat last month. On Wednesday, the Labor Department released a closely watched report that could allow the Federal Reserve to dial down the size of interest rate hikes in September. The reading was the largest month-on-month deceleration of price increases since 1973 and follows on the heels of a roughly 20% drop in the cost of gasoline, Reuters reports

Fertilizer shippers want carrier reforms. The Biden administration is feeling pressure from fertilizer shippers who are pressing for transportation-related changes they say will “help lower their costs and make them more competitive in world markets.” Recommendations from the industry in response to an information request published earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS) include regulatory and other changes affecting trucking, rail and maritime. In the information request the agency asked for help identifying issues affecting the ability to compete in domestic and international markets, along with potential policy solutions.

Rail

Toronto/Montreal shuttle fee notice for MPT customers. On Tuesday, Maersk released a notice regarding shuttle fees for MPT customers. “​​​As the situation both in Prince Rupert and Vancouver continues to deteriorate with import container dwell times reaching record levels, CN rail will be taking several steps to restore fluidity in the network with the establishment of multiple relief container yards where freight can be diverted to. CN rail will as such assess a fee to shuttle containers over to the nominated relief yards. The fee will go into effect commencing Tuesday, August 9th, 2022 and will be applied on all store door cargo where Maersk’s nominated trucker is responsible for providing the dray to the door, also known as MPT (Maersk Preferred Trucker) and the container was also subject to a reroute over to one of the relief container yards. The pass-through charge will be represented as Additional Import Service as part of the billing process. Rail storage free time for [certain] locations has also been reduced from 2 free days to 1 free day.” You can see the specific charges and locations here.

Bill introduced to ban railroad rate hikes during service emergencies. Under a new legislative package introduced last week, railroads would be prohibited from raising prices during service emergencies. The measure, introduced by House leaders in agriculture and transportation, would expand the power of the Surface Transportation Board to regulate railroads when the agency declares a service emergency and requires rail contracts to include service delivery standards. The bill would also allow shippers who own or lease their own railcars to assess fines on railroads when there are service delays. “This bill will level the playing field and provide railroad customers—many of which are transporting key food and energy products—the service they deserve,” said co-sponsor Rep. Peter DeFazio in a statement.

Air

UPS to reduce surcharges on some international services. On Monday, UPS Inc. announced that it will lower its surcharges on heavier-weighted shipments moving from Asian and South Pacific points to the U.S., effective Sunday, August 14. The reductions will affect shipments moving under UPS Worldwide Express Freight service. UPS will reduce surcharges to $1.70 per pound from $2.04 per pound on shipments that move from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. Surcharges on shipments moving from Australia and New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan, will be cut by more than half to 66 cents per pound from $1.34 per pound, UPS said. See more from FreightWaves here.

International

Cuba’s worst fire in history contained after 5 days. The worst fire in Cuba’s history was finally contained on Tuesday after destroying 40% of the Caribbean island’s main fuel storage facility and caused massive blackouts over the course of 5 days. Witnesses reported the “raging flames that ravaged a four-tank segment of the Matanzas super tanker port had died down and the towering plumes of thick black smoke streaming from the area were diminished and now mostly gray,” according to reports. Matanzas is Cuba’s largest port for receiving crude oil and fuel imports. The crude oil, fuel oil and diesel stored in Matanzas in 10 huge tanks, are mainly used to generate electricity on the island.

Massive Chilean sinkhole has authorities puzzled. Officials are working to determine what caused a massive 656 foot top-to-bottom sinkhole near the mining town of Tierra Amarilla. NPR estimates that the sinkhole that opened up in Chile over the weekend could fit the Washington Monument inside — with about 100 feet to spare. In a statement to Reuters, agency director David Montenegro said “we haven’t detected any material down there, but we have seen the presence of a lot of water.” 

Other

Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO to public debate over lawsuit. Elon Musk has challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a public debate instead of facing the ongoing court case over his attempt to break a $44 billion merger contract. Musk tweeted Saturday: “I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!” A “source close to the company says a debate is not going to happen outside of a pending trial,” CNBC reported. In May, when Agrawal posted a thread explaining Twitter’s spam-estimate process, Musk responded with a poop emoji. Musk tried to delay the trial until February 2023, however Judge Kathaleen McCormick rejected the request, instead granting Twitter’s motion to expedite the trial, now scheduled to begin on October 17.

The Port of New York and New Jersey to Implement Container Fee and Mandatory Export Levels, Tariff Increases on Russian Imports Go Into Effect, Oakland Judge Seeks More Time to Review AB5 Granting Truckers Small Victory.

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Ocean

World’s largest container ship being delivered to ABS class. The Ever Alot, Evergreen’s giant container vessel, has received classification from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). It’s currently the largest container ship in the world, with a capacity of over 24,000 TEU. “We are proud to support the design, construction and successful delivery of such a remarkable vessel through the challenges of the pandemic,” said John McDonald, ABS executive vice president and COO. The vessel is the latest in a series of five being built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding in China to ABS class, according to Container News.

Seafarers’ happiness levels rising according to report. The Mission to Seafarers “Seafarers Happiness Index report” indicates that seafarers’ happiness levels are recovering, following a record low last quarter. “It is great to see seafarer happiness increase after such low satisfaction in the last Seafarers Happiness Index report. As always, there is much to be learned from hearing directly from seafarers on how they feel about life at sea – the positives and negatives. By listening, we can better understand, empathize and make the necessary changes to improve seafarers’ lives and experiences,” said Revd Canon Andrew Wright, secretary general of The Mission to Seafarers. Overall happiness has increased from 5.85 to 7.21/10, with levels rising in all categories, Container News reports

Ports

Port of Long Beach to remove free-time weekend exemption. Last week, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero announced that the Southern California port authority will take steps to end the weekend exemption for free time “to incentivize the use of weekend gates by our marine terminal operators and to incentivize our shippers to take advantage of these expanded weekend gate hours.” The removal of the weekend exemption for free time will become effective Sept. 1, according to NCBFAA. 

The Port of New York and New Jersey to implement container fee and mandatory export levels. The Port of New York and New Jersey will implement a container fee on any long-dwelling import or export containers in anticipation of a busy peak season. The tariff is expected to free up space for container pickup and reduce excesses of empty containers dwelling at the port. The quarterly container imbalance fee will be effective as of September, pending a mandatory 30-day federal notice. The port is also setting mandatory container export levels. Ocean carriers’ total outgoing container volume must equal or exceed 110% of their incoming container volume during the same period under the new rules. 

Customs

Tariff increases on Russian imports go into effect. Following the removal of permanent normal trade relations status for Russian imports, which increased tariffs on Russian imports, the U.S. has now increased import tariffs on more than 570 types of Russian goods to 35%. The tariff increases went into effect on July 27. Click here for a  list of the impacted items.

FMC establishes a new enforcement structure. The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced on July 29 the formation of the Bureau of Enforcement, Investigations, and Compliance (BEIC), which would take effect immediately. The new Bureau is a combination of the FMC’s investigation and prosecution activities, and it is intended to enhance the FMC’s implementation of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022.

Trucking

BP’s Q2 profit skyrockets to highest in 14 years. BP garnered $8.45 billion profit in the second quarter, its highest in 14 years. Strong refining margins and trading prompted it to “boost its dividend and spending on new oil and gas production,” Reuters reports. BP shares were up by the highest levels since June: 4.3% by 1315 GMT. This was leagues above the European energy index, which was only up 0.7%. BP shares have gained 23% this year but still remain 10% below pre-pandemic levels.

Oakland judge seeks more time to review AB5 granting truckers small victory. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Delbert Gee didn’t immediately grant the temporary restraining order port officials were seeking on Monday, granting truckers being sued by the city of Oakland and port commissioners following a protest over AB5 a small victory. “The court needed more time to review before they made their final decision,” Robert Bernardo, director of communications for the Port of Oakland, confirmed to FreightWaves. “Instead of ruling in favor of the city and the port, which have unlimited resources and power, the judge is taking a closer look, which is a small victory for the owner-operators who don’t have any money to hire a legal team,” said Miguel Silva, who owns an intermodal company in Oakland.  

Rail

U.S. Class I rail headcount remains flat amidst attempted hiring boosts. Data submitted by the Class I railroads to the Surface Transportation Board suggests that the six-month average accounting for all categories of employees has barely moved from the first six months of 2021, despite headcount gains over the first six months of 2022 for train and engine employees working for the U.S. operations of the Class I railroads. See a detailed report from FreightWaves here. 

BNSF and NWSA to develop Tacoma South rail hub. Rail carrier BNSF and the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) are working together to develop a rail hub at the Port of Tacoma that will be known as Tacoma South. According to a new release, the rail hub will serve the greater Seattle region’s domestic intermodal needs and “unlock capacity” through accommodating more than 50,000 annual container lifts. Tom Williams, BNSF group vice president for consumer products, said in the release: “our collaboration with the NWSA will help support greater warehousing and distribution needs in the fast-growing greater Seattle area.” The new rail hub will “reduce truck emissions associated with moving cargo to inland markets,” Don Meyer, NWSA co-chair and Port of Tacoma Commission president, said. 

Air

Airline passenger fined over undeclared McMuffins. A passenger traveling from Bali, Indonesia to Australia was awarded a hefty fine over a McDonald’s breakfast. The passenger was fined 2,664 Australian dollars ($1,874) after two undeclared egg and beef sausage McMuffins and a ham croissant were found in their luggage on arriving at Darwin Airport last week. The incident came after Australian authorities announced new biosecurity rules after a Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Indonesia spread to Bali, a popular destination for Australian tourists.

Pelosi may have been on most tracked plane in the world this week. The most-tracked aircraft in the world this week was a U.S. Air Force jet that took off from Kuala Lumpur. It seems as though many internet users believed that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was on the jet, headed on a trip to Taiwan. On Tuesday, almost 300,000 users followed every move of “SPAR19,” a US Air Force-operated Boeing C-40C, according to FlightRadar24. There is no official confirmation that Pelosi was on the plane. Her trip to Taiwan angered the Chinese government, which views the island as its territory and warned of consequences if the trip went ahead.

International

New Zealand reopens cruises. New Zealand has become one of the last countries to drop its restrictions on travelers and reopen ports for cruise ships and recreational yachts. New Zealand closed its borders in 2020 to stop the spread of covid, and maintained restrictions for 28 months or nearly 900 days, long after other destinations relaxed restrictions.

First grain-carrying ship sails out of Ukraine. Under an internationally brokered deal to unblock Ukraine’s agricultural exports and ease the global food crisis, the first ship carrying Ukrainian grain set out Monday from the port of Odesa. The cargo ship Razoni departed the port with over 26,000 tons of corn destined for Lebanon. More ships are expected to leave from Ukraine’s ports through the safe corridors in the coming weeks.

Other

Severe temperatures cause droughts across North America and Europe. Sweltering temperatures have been recorded across Europe and North America over the last few weeks, resulting in major droughts across the continents. The declining water level of major rivers, lakes and inland seas across the globe has become a major issue– these water bodies are a link to transportation, power, shipping and recreational activities for millions of people. The Maritime Executive goes into more specifics about the decline of major rivers here.

PFAS found in rainwater exceed safe levels. Rainwater in most locations on Earth contains levels of chemicals that “greatly exceed” safety levels, according to new research. These synthetic substances, called poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are used in things like non-stick pans, fire-fighting foam and water-repellent clothes. They stay in the environment for years and have been duly called “forever chemicals.” Researchers from Stockholm University say it is “vitally important” that the use of these substances is “rapidly restricted.”Research suggests that PFAS may pose health risks including cancer, though results have so far been inconclusive. 

Texas Ports Report Record-Breaking Increases in Container Volumes, Shortages of Chassis Cause Inland Delays Around the U.S., International Flights Resume in Beijing.

By | COVID-19 Latest Updates, Freight Market Update | No Comments

Ocean

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.

Ports

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.   

Customs

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].

Trucking

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.

Rail

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.   

Air

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.

International

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.

Other

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.

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