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Aperture & Focus August 5th

Aperture & Focus: August 5th, 2022

Global Aperture

In the latest move to enforce the recently enacted Ocean Shipping Reform Act, the Federal Maritime Commission launched the new Bureau of Enforcement, Investigations, and Compliance (BEIC) to drastically increase oversight of non-US carriers and ports.

US officials of the Commerce Department tighten export controls of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China-based fabricators in a bid to “address significant national security risks,” and have pressed Netherlands and Japan to follow suit. The move follows a recent Taiwan visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which has strained international relations and raised regulatory hurdles for the region’s tech sector. China’s foreign ministry has also suspended dialogue with the US on defense, climate change, international crime, extradition, and has suspended trade of certain commodities with Taiwan.

A recently published 18-year study illustrates the effects of cargo vessel pollution on climate change as well as the efficacy of fuel regulations—using satellite data, researchers were able to monitor “ship tracks” and their interactions with cloud formation and global temperatures over time. The captured data also presents a better understanding of how environmental initiatives and industry regulations impacted world temperatures throughout the observation period, including Emission Control Areas and VLSFO.

Regional Focus

Americas

North American airport operations remain generally unchanged over the previous week: cargo terminals in Atlanta and New York have improved little and Mexico’s main hubs continue wading through a passenger-heavy summer recovery. In Canada, legislators plan to meet August 9 to potentially launch a study on flight delays and cancelations.

The protracted worker shortage leaves rail-bound freight piled up at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, restricting container accessibility despite an excess of unused empties. Local warehousing networks are running out of room with vacancy at a record 0.6%—the lowest in the country. Continued vessel diversions to the East Coast also hinder schedule reliability as on-time arrivals to ports like New York, New Jersey, and Savannah now average less than 20%, according to shipping intelligence data.

Starting August 8, Maersk will shorten free dwell times and expedite containers to off-dock facilities at key US ports including Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Newark–Elizabeth. New York and New Jersey port authorities will levy a new container imbalance fee come September 1 as a way to encourage carriers’ equipment repositioning efforts.

Asia-Pacific

Cargo volumes at the China’s southerly ports of Hong Kong, Ningbo-Zhoushan, and Shenzhen are up significantly since lockdowns eased in early-July, and the fully automated Port of Nansha’s operational inauguration on July 28 will significantly boost regional cargo throughput. In Vietnam, several regional shipping lines have established intra-Asia routes to the nation’s ports in recent weeks, increasing accessibility. To incentivize new shipper demand, port infrastructure fees at inland waterways have been reduced by municipal resolution. According to data released by China Railway on August 2, the number of China-Europe cargo trains grew year-over-year by 11% amid growing supply chain hurdles that have made rail freight a more appealing option to many shippers.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) announced tandem efforts with Japan and Philippines to produce contingency cargo flight routes. Some marine cargo vessels have also idled or diverted to alternative ports, although MOTC officials report no vessel cancellations as of August 4.

Cargo trucking queues at the India-Bangladesh border crossing have normalized to an average of three days, but neighboring Sri Lanka is still figuring out its economic crisis—unclaimed cargo consignments dwelling in Port Colombo have only recently become eligible for penalty waivers. The country’s truckers are still slowed by fuel shortages, and now a new fuel rationing system has amassed thousands of motorists waiting several days outside petrol stations.

Europe, Middle East & Africa

Europe’s uncharacteristic heat wave leaves Rhine River water levels so low that through-stream barge services could be closed, stranding coal imports at the docks of mega-port gateways like Rotterdam as rail and trucking alternatives also slow down. In Germany, some cargo vessels serving EU-Asia lanes have idled up to three weeks for docking clearance at Hamburg and Bremerhaven ports. Despite a successfully brokered safe travel corridor, Eastern European trade recovers slower in the wake of Russia-Ukraine’s dragging conflict. Now, loaded grain vessels undergo rigorous inspections at Ukrainian ports before shipping to destinations in Romania and Turkey.

Congestion at Frankfurt sees some respite following last week’s union strike that shut down the airport and led to hundreds of flight cancelations. However, a strike vote by union-backed pilots of Lufthansa now threatens to potentially extend Europe’s summer of flight cancelations. Deadlocked pay negotiations between Port Felixtowe’s operator and the dockworkers’ union has escalated to an eight-day strike starting August 21A new agreement was announced between the port authorities of Rotterdam and Singapore aimed at creating the world’s longest green corridor. Air France to launch daily Paris-Newark non-stop service starting December 12

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