ILWU, PMA Reach Tentative Agreement on “Certain Key Issues”

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) said in a press release a tentative agreement had been reached on “certain key issues” with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), but negotiations are still ongoing. “Talks are continuing on an ongoing basis until an agreement is reached,” the ILWU said in a brief statement.

The PMA responded with a statement confirming progress in the negotiations but also criticized the union for job action in Los Angeles-Long Beach. “While significant progress has been achieved in coastwise contract negotiations, several key issues remain unresolved," the PMA said. "Meanwhile, work actions led by ILWU Local 13 at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continued to disrupt some operations at key marine terminals (Thursday). The union is deliberately conducting inspections that are not routine, unscheduled, and done in a way that disrupt terminal operations."

It has been reported that ILWU Local 13’s campaign of job actions has resulted in a slow-down of cargo handling at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for three consecutive weeks with recent actions targeting automated marine terminals.

According to multiple sources, ILWU Local 13 had “red-tagged” cranes at around six of the 12 container terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach as being unsafe, which forced the shutdown of that equipment inspections could be conducted. As a result, cargo handling was disrupted as terminals were forced to halt operations for times ranging from an eight-hour work shift to an entire day, sources have said. Local 13 also continues to delay the dispatch of workers each day to most of the terminals in the port complex.

Labor negotiations between the ILWU and PMA began last May 10, and the prior contract expired July 1.

Source: Journal of Commerce

EU Parliament Backs Reforms Covering Shipping Emissions

The European Parliament has voted to include shipping in the bloc’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) from 2024. It further voted to include methane and nitrous oxide into its emissions package from 2026.

According to the new regulations, shipowners will be required to pay for allowances covering 40% of emissions from next year, 70% in 2025, and 100% from 2026.

Under the new rules, the parliament agreed to allocate 20m ETS allowances which equates to around $2bn at the current carbon price.

As part of the ETS, all emissions emitted by vessels calling at an EU port for voyages within the EU, 50% of emissions from voyages that start or end outside the EU, and all emissions at berth in EU ports, will be included.

“It is an important achievement to include ships in the EU ETS because that will encourage shipowners and operators to use the best available technology and to innovate and this will not only help the climate but also improve air pollution in cities close to rivers and the coastline,” said the parliament’s ETS rapporteur, Peter Liese.


An Uncertain Outlook, Germany & U.K. Enter Recession in 2023

Sea-Intelligence said that while the macroeconomic trends reported in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) World Economic Outlook (WEO) report do not directly compare to the container shipping industry, it serves as an indicator of the global economy. Thus, it can act as a guide on the direction that global trade is headed in.

According to the WEO report, a slowdown in trade growth has been projected, indicating a bottoming out in 2023. A strong recovery is anticipated in 2024 (see Figure 1), brought about by easing inflationary pressures in the market, resolution of supply chain disruptions after the pandemic, and loosening pressures in the energy and food markets after the Russian-Ukrainian war.

“A major concern however, is that Germany and the UK are projected for a recession in 2023, with France perilously close to that line,” Sea-Intelligence said in a statement.

According to a January IMF update, the U.K. had beenprojected to be in a recession, while Germany was projected for a marginal growth of 0.1% in 2023. However, Germany was marked down by -0.2 percentage points in the recent update. France’s economy is projected to grow by 0.7% in 2023.

Source: Sea-Intelligence

Vietnam’s Container Exports to U.S. Grows 156% in 5 Years

According to data provided by Xeneta, Vietnam is a growing source of manufactured goods for the U.S. This has softened China’s dominance in the Trans-Pacific container trade, while geopolitical tensions, reshoring, and shifts in the flow of foreign investments are reshaping global trade patterns.

Looking at the U.S., containerized imports from Asia have increased by 27% over the past five years. Of the region’s 12 major economies, China and Singapore recorded the lowest export growth at 7%, while Hong Kong recorded no volume growth. Meanwhile, Vietnam saw a 156% increase in container trade to the U.S. between 2017 and 2022.

The share of imported volumes reflects a similar trend. In 2022, China accounted for 56% of containerized imports from Asia into the U.S. Despite this being a significant percentage, it marked a -10 percentage point decline from 2017. Meanwhile, Vietnam's share has nearly doubled from 6% in 2017 to 11% in 2022.

The International Monetary Fund reports a 73% year-on-year (y/y) decrease in foreign investments in China to $42.5bn. In comparison, foreign investment averaged $160 billion each half-year between the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2022.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s foreign direct investments (FDIs) have grown 61.2% y/y across the first three months of 2023, including a 62.1% increase in new foreign-invested projects, with the processing and manufacturing sectors accounting for 75% of the total investment. Exports from China to the U.S. also mirrored the current market conditions, with March recording $3.6bn less in than a year ago. Despite this significant reduction, China’s total exports managed a y/y growth rate of 15% in March because of thriving trade with Russia and countries in South Asia.

“It takes time to build new production bases and make port infrastructure investments, as we’re seeing in, for example, Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore, so the impact of investments today won’t be fully appreciated until tomorrow. This implies that the changing trade patterns we’re seeing now could just be the beginning of a far greater realignment,” said Xeneta’s market analyst, Emily Stausbøll.

Stausbøll suggests that in time, trade and investment decisions will be based on geopolitics rather than availability or price but noted the progression would depend on “a range of uncertain factors”. She cites escalating tensions around Taiwan as an example, saying that “another major geopolitical event” would again change the outlook.


Xiamen Port Invests RMB11.8bn for Four Large Container Berths

Chinese port operator Xiamen Port will invest RMB 11.8 bn (USD 1.71 bn) to build four large container berths in the Xiang'an port area.

China’s Ministry of Transport approved the construction of four 200,000 tonnes-class container berths with a handling capacity of 4.26m TEU per year. The new berths will be able to berth two 200,000 tonnes-class, one 150,000 tonnes-class, one 100,000 tonnes-class, and one 10,000 tonnes-class containerships simultaneously.

The project intends to develop Xiamen as a shipping hub in Southeast China and a crucial seaport for international shipping.

Five berths, including three over 10,000-ton class berths, have already been constructed in the Xiang'an port area, with an annual cargo handling capacity of 3.3 million tons. The Xiang'an port area will focus on container and bulk cargo and will have 15 production berths, including nine deep-water berths for large-size vessels.

Xiamen port recorded handling 12.44mTEUs in container volume in 2022. The port receives calls from 173 container services to 149 ports worldwide.

Source: Seatrade Maritime News

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