Trendwatch: Canada Averts New Threat of Strikes at British Columbia Ports; South Carolina ports, ILA to reopen idle terminal; Straits of Singapore and Malacca Report Piracy Declines in 2024

Canada Averts New Threat of Strikes at British Columbia Ports

Canada averted a new labor disruption affecting its Pacific Coast ports after the country’s labor-relations board deemed as illegal a strike notice issued by a union representing ship and dock foremen.

Another strike would have represented the second consecutive summer of labor disruption at Canada’s west coast gateways, which handle about a quarter of the country’s annual trade and deal with cargo totaling roughly C$800 million, or the equivalent of $586 million, daily.

The threat of a walkout added to business concerns about supply chains, with the possibility of a simultaneous strike this summer at the country’s two biggest railroads.


South Carolina ports, ILA to reopen idle terminal

The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) and the International Longshoremen’s Association reached an agreement to reopen the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal “as soon as possible,” SCPA President and CEO Barbara Melvin said at a June 25 board meeting.

Under the new agreement, both parties agreed on the following framework:

  • The port will continue to own all equipment and manage terminal operations.

  • The port will continue to provide training and certification in collaboration with the ILA.


Straits of Singapore and Malacca Report Piracy Declines in 2024

After several years of warnings about the high rate of piracy in the Singapore and Malacca straits, ReCAAP Information Sharing Center provided details of a strong decline in piracy in the region during the first half of 2024. They are reporting that enhanced measures and cooperative efforts with littoral states contributed to a 50 percent reduction in incidents of sea robbery in the straits of Malacca and Singapore. However, they are warning of continuing dangers and a rise in petty theft.

Unlike the more violent piracy incidents where crewmembers are assaulted and taken hostage elsewhere in the world, the Asia region has seen a strong increase in lower-level incidents of boarding and theft. Most of the individuals are rarely armed or only have knives and attempt to go undetected from the crew. They board ships underway and attempt to reach the stores and engine room to steal spares, lose parts and tools. When they are identified frequently they flee.


Emerging markets power 2024 container trade

Trade from the Far East to a bloc of developing economies, especially South America, Africa and the Middle East/Indian Subcontinent, has risen dramatically and has emerged as a key driver of global container trade, according to a new report from Clarksons.

The world’s largest shipbroker said that trade between the Far East and these developing economies was up 16% year-on-year in the first four months of the year, and showed a 30% growth compared to 2019, the year before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

After a stagnant 2023, in which container trade grew by just 0.6% from 2022, container shipments came up to 58 million TEU between January and April, an 8% increase from the year-ago period. This also marked the strongest start to container shipping in any year.


Union calls more 'warning strikes' at German ports as talks restart

German trade union ver.di has called on its members to take part in ‘warning strikes’, that threaten to paralyse German sea ports, before it re-enters the ring for round four of negotiations.

In the build-up to talks with the Central Association of German Seaport Operators (ZDS), ver.di called strikes for yesterday, today and tomorrow “to increase the pressure on employers”.

The fourth round of collective bargaining between ver.di and ZDS will be on 11 and 12 July in Bremen.


Evolving landscape of dangerous goods transport by air in Europe

In the world of air cargo, transporting dangerous goods demands unparalleled precision and compliance. As regulations evolve and technology advances, European air carriers navigate a complex landscape of safety protocols, digital innovations, and collaborative efforts to ensure the secure movement of hazardous materials across the skies.

The transportation of dangerous goods (DG) by air is a complex and highly regulated process that demands meticulous attention to detail and unwavering compliance. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), more than 1.25 million consignments of dangerous goods are transported by air every year. As the air cargo industry evolves, so too do the regulations governing the movement of potentially hazardous materials including lithium batteries, infectious substances, fireworks, dry-ice, gasoline-powered engines and machinery, lighters, and paint, among others.


Canadian Border Workers Approve New Labor Deal, Averting Strike

Canadian border workers have overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new labor agreement, as confirmed by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) on July 4. The union reported that 91% of the ballots cast were in favor of the new contract, which covers more than 9,000 members of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The voting period spanned from June 20 to July 4.

The new agreement includes a total wage increase of 14.8% over four years, retroactive to June 2022. It also offers protections against technological changes, improvements in shift scheduling and leave, and a requirement for managers to individually assess and provide written responses to remote work requests.


Global volumes rise again in June as market indicates a ‘hot Q4’ for air cargo rates

The global air cargo market is heading towards a ‘hot Q4’ of rate increases after a sixth straight month of double-digit growth in June, with a warning that shippers and forwarders ill-prepared for this year’s peak season may find themselves ‘at the mercy of the market,’ according to the latest analysis by Xeneta.

Demand in June, measured in chargeable weight, was +13% year-on-year, continuing the upward trend seen throughout the first half of 2024. In contrast, cargo supply grew at its slowest pace in 2024, edging up only +3% year-on-year.

As a result, the global air cargo dynamic load factor - Xeneta’s measurement of capacity utilisation based on volume and weight of cargo flown alongside available capacity - increased by +4% pts year-on-year.


Severe Weather Halts Container Shipping at Cape of Good Hope

Severe weather conditions near the Cape of Good Hope have brought container traffic to a halt this week, according to analysis by LSEG Shipping Research.

Container shipping around the Cape of Good Hope has surged this year as avoid Middle East chokepoints amid ongoing missile and drone attacks by the Iranian-backed Houthis in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea.

Since Monday, July 8, daily transit data and vessel location data via the LSEG Workspace Interactive Map have shown no containerships passing the Cape of Good Hope – adding to congestion and delays exacerbated by the Red Sea crisis. The Interactive Map layer highlights marine weather with waves over 10 meters high.


The Port of NY and NJ secures nation’s top spot in May

For the third consecutive month, total volume at the Port of New York and New Jersey topped 700,000 TEUs, but that’s not the only impressive achievement. In May, the port also soared to the number one spot in the country for total TEUs and total loaded TEUs.

May’s total volume reached 790,758 TEUs (439,593 containers), a 16.9 percent increase from the 676,311 TEUs (376,449 containers) recorded in May 2023. This double-digit increase marked the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year volume growth and brought our year-through-May total to 3,501,676 TEUs (1,940,869 containers), making the Port of New York and New Jersey the second-busiest cargo port in the nation so far this year.


'Usual' shortage of seasonal workers creating delays on Europe's waterways

Shortages of seasonal workers have prompted delays across Europe’s inland waterways, leaving many in the sector aggrieved at the failure to address the years-long problem.

According to barge operator Contargo, delays hit 44 hours and 72 hours at Antwerp and Rotterdam, respectively, with one source in the sector highlighting the issue neither industry nor government had “bothered to address”.

“This is nothing new, we see it each summer: the typical seasonal worker shortages across inland terminals,” the source told The Loadstar.


Chicago Metro Area to Get First All-Water Route for Container Ships

Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor has officially been given the go-ahead to create the first all-water container route for ships serving the Chicago metropolitan area through the Great Lakes.

The container route will come as part of a project to build Lake Michigan's first international sea cargo terminal in Northwest Indiana just south of Chicago, which U.S. Customs and Border Protection approved on July 2. Although Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor is the 25th largest port in the U.S., all containers that travel through the Chicago area are moved by rail or truck.

“This is a critical step in a long process to establish a container terminal at Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor and a new supply chain for international container shipments,” Ports of Indiana CEO Jody Peacock said in a news release. “Having an all-water container route into the Midwest could create transformational opportunities, but it will take time to develop."