Trendwatch: Looming U.S. government shutdown expected to disrupt trade activity; Maritime sector at pivotal decarbonisation moment, says UNCTAD; Smart ports market to reach $15.5 billion by 2032

Looming U.S. government shutdown expected to disrupt trade activity

As members of Congress continue to negotiate government spending levels allotted for the next fiscal year, the United States is poised for its fourth partial government shutdown in the last decade—putting at risk the regular operations of U.S. agencies responsible for trade activities.

A shutdown appears more likely by the day, unless the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democratic-led Senate reach an agreement on spending bills for fiscal year 2024 by September 30, 2023. If negotiations drag on, approximately 438 government agencies will suspend their normal operations starting on October 1, 2023, which will force non-essential federal workers into furlough and disrupt various services critical to U.S. trade activities. Agencies and federal workers deemed "essential" will continue to provide vital services, such as those relating to national security or activities necessary to protect life and property, as well as activities funded outside of the appropriations process.



Maritime sector at pivotal decarbonisation moment, says UNCTAD

Shipping has reached a decisive moment in the green transition process with the UN trade body UNCTAD calling on the industry to establish a global regulatory framework, adopt a market-based measure (MBM) and provide financial support for developing countries.

In its latest Review of Maritime Transport 2023, published today (27 September), UNCTAD said that a “just and equitable transition” to a decarbonised maritime industry was crucial in a sector that has greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increase 20% over the last decade.

“We need bold global actions to decarbonise shipping to ensure a just and fair transition we must engage with all stakeholders in the industry,” said Shamika Sirimanne, UNCTAD director of technology and logistics.

UNCTAD said that full decarbonisation by 2050 would need up to US$28 billion per year, while the annual infrastructure transition costs to 100% carbon neutral fuels could amount to US$90 billion, and that the process could see the price of vessel fuels double during this period.

Container News


Smart ports market to reach $15.5 billion by 2032

According to a new report released by Allied Market Research, the smart ports market is valued at $2 billion in 2022 and is estimated to reach $15.5 billion by 2032.

This growth reflects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.1 per cent from 2023 to 2032.

Based on technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) segment accounted for the largest share in 2022, contributing to nearly two-fifths of the global smart ports market revenue and is projected to rule the roost throughout the forecast timeframe.

IoT sensors are deployed on port equipment, such as cranes, trucks, and handling machinery, to monitor their performance, health, and usage. Real-time data helps in predictive maintenance, reducing downtime, and optimising equipment utilisation. These factors altogether may surge the adoption of IoT technology in the smart ports market.

Port Technology


Biden-Harris Administration announces $1.4 billion in infrastructure funding for 70 projects that will improve rail safety, strengthen supply chains

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced today that it has invested more than $1.4 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into 70 rail improvement projects in 35 states and Washington, D.C. This is the largest amount ever awarded for rail safety and rail supply chain upgrades through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program.

As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, federal investments are tackling long-standing rail needs by supporting communities nationwide to help get people and goods where they need to be safely, quickly, and conveniently. Projects selected through the CRISI program, which is four times larger since President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, support community safety through track improvements, bridge rehabilitations, fewer highway-rail grade crossings, upgrades on routes carrying hazardous materials, and more. Selected projects also improve connectivity, reduce shipping costs, increase resiliency to extreme weather, reduce emissions, and support workforce development.



UK seeks aerospace deals in new trade pact with Washington state

The UK will sign a trade pact with Washington state aimed at facilitating aerospace deals with the US, as it seeks to bolster its economic ties in the absence of broader free-trade discussions with President Joe Biden.

The memorandum of understanding, the sixth such pact with a US state, is focused on forging closer ties between the two countries’ aviation sectors. Washington state is the birthplace of US aerospace giant Boeing Co.

The framework will enable UK and US businesses to work together more seamlessly, Nusrat Ghani, the UK minister for industry, told Bloomberg News in an interview. Ghani touted the collective impact of the mini trade pacts.



Port Houston handles over 2.5 million TEUs in 2023

Port Houston reported that total container volumes for the year have reached 2.5 million TEUs from January to August. The US port handled 2,510,162 TEUs, a 4% decrease from the same period last year.

Due to a relatively balanced market of import and export demand, year-to-date empty container volume is down 17% with Port Houston handling 307,624 TEUs in August, a 20% reduction from the same month the previous year.

Overall container volumes at Port Houston fell in August compared to the previous year, owing to a significant reduction in empty container volume.

Container News


IEA sees ammonia as shipping’s go-to solution for reaching net zero by 2050

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a 2023 update of its ‘Net Zero by 2050’ report that shipping will primarily turn to ammonia to decarbonise the sector.

The ‘Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector‘ report was published in 2021. It translated the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C into a concrete roadmap for the global energy sector. Instead of starting to fall as envisaged in the 2021 report, demand for fossil fuels and supply investments have increased spurred by the energy crisis of 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine.

But projections for shipping are still optimistic for 2050. The report update pointed out that energy efficiency improvements in shipping by 2030 will be key to the decarbonisation of this mode of transport.

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PSA BDP and ALISAN Logistics Celebrate Expanded Presence in Türkiye

PSA BDP, a leading provider of globally integrated and port-centric supply chain, transportation, and logistics solutions, and ALISAN Logistics A.S. (ALISAN), a logistics provider in Türkiye and member of the PSA Group, celebrated with a formal event to finalise the acquisition of ALISAN by PSA International.

Earlier this year, PSA announced an agreement to acquire 75% of the shares of ALISAN, with the company grouped under PSA BDP, PSA’s cargo solutions arm.

Held in Istanbul, Türkiye, on 21 September, the commemoration included a formal reception attended by PSA, PSA BDP, and ALISAN stakeholders and customers, as well as notable Turkish government, trade, and industry representatives. During the evening, leaders unveiled a new ALISAN logo to highlight the integration of ALISAN as a member of the PSA Group.

Container News