Global Aperture After three years of supply chain disruptions from the global pandemic, the Federal…
Aperture & Focus: October 27, 2022
The enforcement of new environmental regulations arrives in 2023: Annual vessel data collected for the IMO’s Fuel Oil Consumption reports will be benchmarked for a 2% improvement between 2023-2030, and EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme will extend to shipping lines next year, requiring ocean carriers to purchase credits for half of all voyage emissions between EU and non-EU ports.
Barge operators will also be challenged in the near-to-midterm with critical drought conditions that have affected major inland waterways in all continents—many of which are also used for hydropower generation. Demand for coal has perilously risen in consequence, raising further concerns from climate experts and diverging state approaches to the energy crisis.
Work contract negotiations may likely “take some several months” to finalize, according to Los Angeles port chief, but lockdown-era vessel queues are officially resolved. Now, officials want to “recapture” cargo currently crawling through Gulf and East Coast ports, overlooking Oakland’s current and near-future corridor-to-terminal congestion—partly attributed to shrinking demand, and partly attributed to the 2023 implementation of heavy-duty truck inspections. That’s fine and all, but the unabated chassis pile-ups are raising public concerns about air pollution.
In Canada, vessel delays, heavy container yard density, and inland rail depot congestion have contributed to 10-day average container dwell times in Vancouver Port. Montreal’s vessel traffic suffers from ongoing construction; luckily, dockworker union reps signed a new eight-year contract on October 25, avoiding risk of labor deficits. Further east, water levels along the St. Lawrence River remain insistently below-average.
Mexico may ban double-tractor trailers on its roads and highways; dwindling warehouse capacity forces an unlikely re-export of fertilizer from Brazil’s Antonina Port; ground traffic resumes on Venezuela’s Troncal 9 highway after extensive flooding from the nearby Unare River receded; 61 unions representing 400,000 truckers in Chile give notice of a national strike to commence November 22.
Covid restrictions are impacting supply chains in Ningbo, Shanghai, and Tianjin. Ningbo is the worst affected, with forwarders reporting disruption to the area around the port going into lockdown. Supply chain experts have increasingly highlighted the disruptive impact of China’s Zero Covid policies as producers of furniture, apparel, minerals, technology, and other in-demand commodities reshore to Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Shipping lines throw out more sailings in the weeks ahead that link East Asia to West Europe, the Mediterranean, North America and Latin America. The landfall of tropical cyclone Sitrang on October 24 forced the Bangladeshi ports Chittagong and Mongla to suspend container operations in preparation for the storm.
Europe, Middle East & Africa
A report published by the Economic and Social Research Institute measuring Brexit’s impact found that UK-EU trade was down by 16% compared to a world where Brexit had not occurred, concluding that removing trade barriers with the EU would recover lost trade and should be given top priority. Recent vessel tracker data shows 10% of the world’s liquified natural gas (LNG) tankers are stuck in bottlenecks in Northwest Europe due to European energy shortages. As they remain idle, unable to unload at overwhelmed ports, global capacity sinks just as EU leaders back a LNG price cap. Vessel backlogs at the Black Sea Grain Corridor reached a new high with 165 vessels in an inspection queue near the Bosporus Strait, according to the Ukraine foreign ministry.