U.S. Port Leaders Discuss Future Plans

White House Supply Chain Envoy, Stephen Lyons, told the 300 port officials attending the American Association of Port Authorities Legislative Summit that the nation’s transportation system was severely tested during the nearly three years of chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lyons was one of several high-profile speakers including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, members of Congress, and others, who emphasized the importance of the nation’s ports. Lyons said the combination of the pandemic and more than 50 years of neglect in infrastructure demonstrated to American transportation leaders a pressing need to retool the nation’s highways, roads, bridges, airports, transit systems, and ports.

White House Senior Adviser Mitch Landrieu provided details to port leaders on how federal infrastructure money is being spent. The bipartisan infrastructure bill calls for spending more than $19 billion on port projects and states. Additionally, the private sector has also said they would spend another $6 billion, making it the largest one-time investment in U.S. ports.

With port leaders keeping a close eye on ongoing West Coast labor negotiations, it was revealed to attendees during one panel discussion that the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association have recently begun to address economic issues. This follows a lengthy negotiation ironing out a jurisdictional issue between unions.

“We had a jurisdictional issue that was quite complex with litigation in the background and it took a long time to work through,” said George Pasha, CEO of port consulting organization The Pasha Group. “We’re seeing this negotiation just getting started in its traditional form and I’m optimistic. Hopefully, they’ll get this done in the next couple of months.”

Source: Transport Topics

Container Ports Log Less Than 1% Growth in 2022

The world’s 30 busiest container ports saw growth slow in 2022. According to Alphaliner, volumes at the 30 busiest ports rose by less than 1% year-on-year (y/y) to 454 million TEU in 2022. China was the main driver of the gains and, to a lesser extent, the Middle East.

China’s top 10 ports achieved a new record of 222 million TEUs, an increase of 4.1% year-on-year, although, in comparison, the result indicated a slower growth than the 6.2% in 2021. Tanger Med also displayed strong performance, increasing by 5.6% to 7.6 million TEU, while Dubai throughput remained stable at 13.9 million TEU, a 1.6% increase in 2021.

Volume declines were widespread across many other ports in Europe, the Indian sub-continent, and the rest of Asia, Alphaliner reported. Europe’s three busiest ports, Rotterdam, Antwerp-Bruges and Hamburg, recorded falling volumes of -5.8%, -5.5%, and -5.4%, respectively. India’s Mundra port logged a -2.5% y/y volume drop, while in Sri Lanka, Colombo’s throughput fell 5.6%. Asian ports such as Singapore, Busan, Port Kelang, Tanjung Pelepas, Kaohsiung, and Jakarta, recorded volume declines ranging from -0.5% to -6.5%.

In the U.S., the East Coast ports of New York/New Jersey and Savannah continued their growth, registering volume increases of 5.3% and 4.7%, respectively. In comparison, Los Angeles’ throughput fell -5.3%, giving over its position as the busiest U.S. container port. New York/New Jersey has outperformed Los Angeles in five of the last eight months.

Source: Container News

“Peak Season without a Peak” for Containerized Cargo

According to the recent GSF/MDS Transmodal Container Shipping Market Review report, containerized cargo volumes on deep-sea trades fell another -2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2022, marking the traditionally busiest period of the year as the ‘peak season without a peak’.

Containerized cargo volumes have been falling steadily since the beginning of 2023 as global economies face pressure from inflation and high energy prices. Consequently, consumer demand for goods across nearly all economic sectors remains weak. Meanwhile, there are indications inflation effects will linger into the second quarter of 2023.

James Hookham, Secretary General of Global Shippers Forum (GSF), said, “Predicting volumes and inventory requirements for the remainder of the year is a leap into the unknown for many shippers, as few but the most experienced will have encountered so varied a mix of influencing factors.”

On the demand side, many carriers and service providers are optimistically expecting a recovery in demand in the second half of the year. Yet, few economic signals are lining up with this view. Meanwhile, the arrival of new capacity will also impact the supply side of the equation.

Source: American Journal of Transportation

Transport Ministers Hold Dialogue on Eastern European Transport Links

Twenty-three transport and infrastructure ministers met to discuss plans to create transport links from the Baltic states to Greece and link Ukraine with Western Europe. The meeting was hosted by Poland’s minister for infrastructure, Andrzej Adamczyk, in collaboration with the OECD’s International Transport Forum (ITF).

Lithuania’s transport minister, Marius Skuodis said, “We have been talking about ways to better connect three seas, the Baltic, the Black, and the Aegean; we are trying to increase connectivity and resilience for our transport systems, our people, and economies.”

Discussions centered on expanding two plans, both road and rail projects, Via Carpathia and Via Baltica. Via Carpathia, which would link Klaipėda in Lithuania with Thessaloniki in Greece, was first considered in 2006 and was one of the EU Trans-European Transport Network.

(TEN-T) projects last year. Via Baltica will run from the Baltic states through Central Europe to Germany. Another planned link for development is the Middle Corridor, via rail from Asia to Georgia on the Black Sea and Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Finance for the projects has yet to be decided, but Canada has announced a C$300,000 (US$221,500) contribution to the ITF for research into the post-war rebuilding program.

The ministers will meet again in Leipzig, Germany, in May. The U.S. and UK, Germany, France, Italy, Czech Republic and Sweden were among the 23 participating nations.

Source: The Loadstar

UK Join Trans-Pacific Trade Pact

The UK has reached an agreement to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Established in 2018, the bloc includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Supply chain leaders have had mixed reactions to the news. Global Shippers Forum director James Hookham said, “Trade negotiations need to think about the physical movement of the goods as well as the non-tariff barriers.” He said analysis carried out by MDS Transmodal showed available capacity between the UK and the 11 other countries in the pact had fallen by 50% in the past three years.

While capacity increased to Mexico (up 12%) and Peru (5%), Hookham said there had been reductions between 2019 and 2022 of -18% to Canada, -28% to Australia and -40% to Malaysia, the bloc’s largest economies, despite a 17% increase in UK exports.

Hookham said the removal of trade barriers by itself does not produce trade. “It is the practicalities of doing business in the country that traders will be more focused on, asking themselves ‘is it worth the hassle’, and governments need to have these trade frictions in mind when negotiating,” he said.

Given the capacity shortage, Hookham pointed out that relying on international trade growth meant greater reliance on the dynamics of the global container shipping industry. “It is these figures – capacity, cost and bureaucracy – that will matter, as they will have more impact than tariffs,” he added.

Source: The Loadstar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *