Trendwatch: ILA contract talks need Biden’s “immediate engagement” says apparel group; Only piecemeal additions to cargo capacity on China-US flights; Round-Africa routing and vessel size dynamics: Impact on slot costs and network disruptions

Plane trucks are flying towards the destination with the brightest.3d render and illustration.

ILA contract talks need Biden’s “immediate engagement” says apparel group

The trade group representing the U.S. apparel, footwear, and accessories industry is calling for “immediate engagement” by the Biden Administration in the contract negotiations for East Coast and Gulf Coast dockworkers. The group cites the administration’s involvement with the West Coast dockworkers and rail workers contracts saying “A disruption is preventable with immediate engagement from the Biden Administration.”

In a letter sent to President Biden on March 12, American Apparel & Footwear Association President and CEO Stephen Lamar warns, “Any work slowdown or stoppage leading up to or after expiration of the contract would have a devastating impact on American consumers, American workers, and the U.S. economy.”


Only piecemeal additions to cargo capacity on China-US flights

US airlines are reluctant to resume China routes they suspended during the pandemic, auguring tight capacity to meet e-commerce demand.

In response to rampant travel demand, airlines have been adding capacity at a brisk clip. The second half of 2023 and January saw double-digit annual growth in cargo capacity driven by a surge in passenger flights that is showing no signs of abating.

However, the US-China sector is only witnessing sporadic expansion, which threatens to fall short of cargo demand.


Round-Africa routing and vessel size dynamics: Impact on slot costs and network disruptions

Greater sailing distances on the round-Africa routing would, all else equal, lead to higher fuel consumption and, hence, an increase in slot cost, according to the latest Sea-Intelligence report.

The Danish shipping data analysis firm said that assuming the vessels are well-utilized, which should be the case, deploying larger, more fuel-efficient vessels, should bring these increased slot costs down.


PSA Singapore expands Jurong Island Terminal

Port operator PSA Singapore (PSA) has unveiled plans for a strategic expansion of its Jurong Island Terminal (JIT) in response to the growing demand for efficient, and resilient supply chain solutions from industries situated on Jurong Island.

In collaboration with JTC, the managing entity of Jurong Island, PSA wants to expand to enhance the terminal’s annual handling capacity to 300,000 TEUs to meet projected demand.

The expansion plan includes the development of new dangerous goods (DG) handling and cargo transloading facilities.


New, milder farmers’ disruptions hitting Belgian ports

The Belgian ports of Antwerp, Ghent, and Zeebrugge are again being affected by farmers’ tractor disruptions, which started on Thursday morning, March 14.

However, contrary to the massive blockades that especially hit Antwerp in mid-February, the latest round of protests is not as disruptive.

Port spokespersons for Antwerp-Bruges and North Sea Port (which includes Ghent) told WorldCargo News the protests are more ‘playful’, as road traffic, trucks included, can pass with little delay.


S&P Global: European defaults help push global corporate default tally to fastest pace since 2009

An elevated number of defaults in Europe has helped boost S&P Global Ratings' 2024 global corporate default tally to 29, its highest year-to-date total since 2009. In February, 15 companies defaulted. See "Elevated European Defaults Help Push Global Corporate Default Tally To Fastest Pace Since 2009," published today.

The climbing defaults in February add to January's already substantial tally of 14 defaults. The year-to-date corporate default tally is now at its highest since 2009.


Long Beach experiences box volume rise at the beginning of 2024

In February, the Port of Long Beach experienced a surge in cargo shipments, driven by several factors such as cooling inflation, growing consumer confidence and a concerted effort to regain market share.

Dockworkers and terminal operators at the Californian port handled a total of 674,723 TEUs during the second month of the year, marking a significant increase of 24.1% compared to February 2023.


Sunak and Modi recommit to UK-India trade deal ahead of elections loom

The UK and India’s prime ministers reaffirmed their commitment to completing a free trade agreement, just days after the latest round of negotiations looked set to end with major issues still outstanding.

Narendra Modi said on social media site X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had held a “good conversation” with his British counterpart Rishi Sunak on Tuesday and that they will work for an “early conclusion of a mutually beneficial” accord.


Boeing crisis derails airline growth plans as output stalls

Boeing Co.’s crisis of confidence is spreading to the airlines that buy its jets.

Major carriers from United Airlines Holdings Inc. to Southwest Airlines Co., Delta Air Lines Inc. and Alaska Air Group Inc. gathered at an industry conference on Tuesday, and most of them had a similar story about how Boeing’s troubles are bleeding into their businesses. Most notably, airlines lack the aircraft they had previously planned on receiving in 2024 because Boeing has slowed output.


USDOT unveils plan to decarbonize freight transportation across the country

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has unveiled plans to implement nationwide charging infrastructure for zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles. 

This is part of a larger plan from the DOT to eventually decarbonize freight transportation across the country. By 2030, the goal is to have zero emissions vehicles comprise 30% of new sales for commercial medium and heavy-duty vehicles, and then 100% by 2040. 


China proposes end to punitive wine tariffs, Australia says

Australian vintners and lawmakers said China proposed lifting punitive tariffs on the nation’s wine, signaling the end is near to a three-year trade dispute as both countries seek to strengthen ties.

Treasury Wine Estates Ltd. referenced China’s plan in an exchange filing on Tuesday, adding that the final decision will be made in the “coming weeks.” The Ministry of Commerce in Beijing did not respond to a question about when they would release the report.