Trendwatch: Baltimore truckers, dockworkers brace for Key Bridge collapse effects; UK minister says China sanctions tailored to avoid trade fight; From GHG emissions to energy efficiency: IMO publishes full MEPC 81 report

Port with plane departing

Baltimore truckers, dockworkers brace for Key Bridge collapse effects

The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore Tuesday will cost truckers and other drivers time and money for the foreseeable future as they reroute to the city’s tunnels, local streets or the western side of Interstate 695.

President Joe Biden pledged the federal government would pay to rebuild the 1.6-mile-long span, which served as a major freight and commuting corridor. But that priority pales in comparison to a more pressing concern for the Port of Baltimore, the trucking industry and the region: Removing the vessel and the collapsed bridge from the shipping channel.

“Unless the waterway is cleared, and deliveries are able to be made to the port, we’re going to have a massive diversion of ships to other ports,” Maryland Motor Truck Association President and CEO Louis Campion said in an interview. “The debris is just going to serve as a blockade to the port and just choke off economic activity.”


UK minister says China sanctions tailored to avoid trade fight

The UK government’s response to alleged Chinese state-backed cyber attacks on British institutions and politicians was designed to avoid “trade issues” with Beijing, a senior minister said.

The UK government on Monday sanctioned a company based in Wuhan and two individuals it said were members of a state-affiliated group known as APT31, who it accused of targeting British Members of Parliament. That prompted accusations from some MPs that ministers aren’t going far enough in punishing China.


From GHG emissions to energy efficiency: IMO publishes full MEPC 81 report

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 81st session, met in person at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Headquarters in London (with hybrid participation) from 18 to 22 March 2024.

MEPC addresses environmental issues under IMO’s remit. This includes the control and prevention of ship-source pollution covered by the MARPOL treaty, including oil, chemicals carried in bulk, sewage, garbage and emissions from ships, including air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.

Other matters covered include ballast water management, anti-fouling systems, ship recycling, pollution preparedness and response, and identification of special areas and particularly sensitive sea areas.


Georgia Ports Authority Board approves $65M for Ocean Terminal

The Georgia Ports Authority has approved contracts totaling $65.6 million for container yard work at the Port of Savannah’s Ocean Terminal, a 200-acre facility just downriver from GPA’s main container port.

“We’re very pleased with the progress on improving Ocean Terminal’s container handling capability,” said GPA President and CEO Griff Lynch. “We’re on track to see greater container capacity by late 2027.”

On Tuesday, the board approved three project components, including earth compacting to prepare the site to hold container stacks, removal of a former bridge pier and preliminary utility installation behind the wharf structure.


Indian Customs to auction uncleared export boxes at Nhava Sheva

India Customs will auction abandoned or long-dwelling consignments at Nhava Sheva in a bid to dispose of export goods left uncleared by cargo interests.

Abandoned export/import containers have the potential to create congestion at docks as volumes build, hindering the pace of cargo flows. 

The clearance sales will be held in co-ordination with the custodian of the cargo: typically, a customs-bonded warehouse or container freight station.


FAA considers limits on new United routes after safety incidents

U.S. aviation authorities are considering drastic measures to curb growth at United Airlines Holdings Inc., including preventing the carrier from adding new routes, following a series of safety incidents.

The Federal Aviation Administration has discussed temporary actions it may take with the airline’s leadership in recent days, according to people with knowledge of the matter. In addition to route restrictions ahead of the all-important summer travel season, United may be barred from flying paying customers on newly delivered aircraft, said the people, who asked not to be identified describing the closed discussions.


MSC, Maersk to omit Baltimore from services until further notice

2M Alliance container shipping majors MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA and Maersk announced that they would omit the Port of Baltimore from all of their services until further notice.

The move comes on the heels of the Port of Baltimore’s decision to suspend all vessel traffic into and out the port following Tuesday’s tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge.

“Vessel traffic into and out of the Port of Baltimore is suspended until further notice. This does not mean that the Port of Baltimore is closed. Trucks are being processed within our marine terminals,” the port authority said on X.

“At this time we do not know how long vessel traffic will be suspended. As soon as that is determined we will provide an update.”