Global Aperture As the economic outlook leading up to the holiday had suggested, Lunar…
New shipping data dismays industry analysts around the world in time for the convergence of peak seasons: hurricanes, crop harvests, monsoons, wildfires, and of course—consumer spending. Global air volume data provided by CLIVE show a slowed decline in year-over-year cargo handled through August along with a 7% year-over-year recovery in available capacity; however, a spokesperson for the business intelligence company warns to expect a muted peak season with regional capacity limits attributed to reduced airline schedules moving into winter months.
Based on their latest published data, IATA’s Director-General suggests that passenger belly-hold cargo capacity may return to pre-Covid levels in the latter-half of 2023—noting that “[traditionally] the supply in terms of capacity has been driven very much by passenger growth.” While cargo declines were observed in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and North America, significant year-over-year gains in cargo volumes were achieved by Latin American airlines through July.
European market experts warn that with a cargo vessel congestion is rearing up again at North Sea ports, and Europe-Asia demand is sinking to the trenches in conjunction with energy crises in both regions and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
California encourages sea freight vessels not to recharge via shore power and further strain electric grids during the state’s record heat wave season. A temporary power outage at Austin-Bergstrom caused intermittent flight delays throughout the day.
Carrier container dwell fees are postponed at the ports of New York and New Jersey, but local drayage companies warn that the buildup of empty containers . Making a reverse from precision schedule railroading, intermodal operators have started reopening hump yards across the country to reduce ongoing congestion from service disruptions, labor unrest, and staff shortages.
In Mexico, the onset of Hurricane Kay toward Michoacan pressured officials to suspend all vessel movements to and from Lazaro Cardenas until further notice. Cargo terminals at Veracruz Port experienced intermittent flooding over the weekend, but did not announce a work stoppage. Guadalajara International Airport and Manzanillo Port are selected to be Chile’s gateway hubs for air and sea exports to Asian markets, while Mexico’s foreign minister pays a visit to the Chihuahua-New Mexico port to drive interest in cross-border trade development.
An ongoing tugboat operator strike at the Port of Vancouver was most recently joined by unionized shipbuilders on September 2, delaying vessel production along with marine cargo handling. In a press release, Canada’s Chamber of Shipping urged parties to resume contract negotiations. Toronto-Pearson adds new passenger travel regulations to ease terminal congestion, and warns that evening aircraft slots may be limited through fall due to planned runway reconstruction.
IATA’s director general remarked that Hong Kong’s Covid-19 strict regulations will hinder air capacity recovery. But across the Shenzhen border crossing, a continual rise in Covid-19 infections has once again led officials to reduce traveler entry, suspend mass transit services, and limit public dining. Further inland, Chengdu expanded its lockdown and mass testing directives on September 1. Good thing international cargo services have officially resumed at Beijing-Daxing Airport.
The landfall of Typhoon Hinnamor forced port closures in Shanghai, Ningbo, and Busan, further disrupting shipping schedules from Asia, while continued flooding in Pakistan devastates cotton crop harvests as Emirates offers free transport via Dubai for relief aid organizations. The nation’s current financial crisis has kicked up a larger storm as previously-instated import bans prevent access to fresh produce, telecoms materials, and automotive components. Rising fuel prices in Indonesia and the start of Thailand’s monsoon season may also bring further setbacks to shippers in Southeast Asia.
On the bright side, a potential ground handler strike at Australia’s airports in Sydney and Brisbane was averted on September 8 following a tentative agreement to new work contract provisions. Singapore’s Tuas Mega Port officially opens for cargo operations on September 1, with 500 workers and three completed berths—officials plan to install 21 of 66 planned deep-water berths by 2027.
Europe, Middle East & Africa
A follow-up strike initially set to occur this week was cancelled on September 6 following consensus on a new wage deal between a pilot union and German carrier Lufthansa. The same cannot be said for UK’s ongoing port labor dispute, which will see a follow-up strike in Liverpool between September 19 to October 3. Labor unrest at Bremerhaven and Hamburg may have subsided, but after three months of plaguing vessel calls at North Sea Ports, congestion is now growing at the Port of Valencia. The Port of Gibraltar partially resumed late-September 7 after cleanup crews extracted most of the oil and wreckage from a vessel collision on August 29.