Trendwatch: Monthly import cargo set to hit highest level since 2022; French ports could face a month of chaos and disruption as workers strike; Dockworkers Cancel Bargaining, Threaten Strike at U.S. Seaports

Container Ship

Monthly import cargo set to hit highest level since 2022

Monthly inbound cargo volume at the nation’s major container ports is expected to reach its highest level in nearly two years this summer, according to the Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.

“Consumers are continuing to spend more than last year, and retailers are stocking up to meet demand, especially as we head into peak shipping season,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “The high level of imports expected over the next several months is an encouraging sign that retailers are confident in strong sales throughout the remainder of the year. Unfortunately, retailers are also facing supply chain challenges again, this time with congestion at overseas ports that are affecting operations and shipping rates.”


French ports could face a month of chaos and disruption as workers strike

A month of chaos and disruption could lie ahead for France’s major ports, including box hubs Le Havre and Marseille-Fos. Labour unions representing dockers and other port workers look set to carry out a threat to stage several one-day strikes as well as numerous four-hour work stoppages in June in protest to pension reform which has increased the statutory retirement age in France.

Last Friday, 7 June, the first of the 24-hour strikes took place, with Le Havre’s ro-ro, bulk and container terminals reported to have been blocked by dockers. Four ship calls were cancelled, and a further 18 calls delayed.


MPA Statement on vessels' extended waiting times for berths in the Port of Singapore

The diversion of vessels around the Cape of Good Hope has disrupted vessel arrival schedules at major ports around the world with off-schedule arrivals and has caused a “vessels bunching” effect. Since the beginning of 2024, Singapore has seen a significant increase in vessel arrivals. 

2. For the tanker and bulk vessel segment, the resupply and bunkering activities take place within the anchorages and these are not affected. For the container vessels, we have seen large increases in container volumes and the “bunching” of container vessel arrivals over the previous months due to supply chain disruptions in upstream locations.

3. Container volumes handled in Singapore in the first four months of 2024 amounted to 13.36 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). This is an 8.8% increase in container volumes over the same period last year. The increase in container vessels arriving off-schedule and the increased container volumes handled in Singapore have resulted in longer vessels’ wait time for a container berth. While most container vessels are berthed on arrival, port operator PSA has worked with liners to adjust arrival schedules where feasible, and where this is not feasible, the average waiting time for container vessels is about two to three days.


Dockworkers cancel bargaining, threaten strike at U.S. seaports

Dockworkers at America’s East Coast and Gulf Coast seaports canceled labor talks that were due to start this week and raised the possibility of a strike later this year at some of the country’s biggest trade gateways.

The International Longshoremen’s Association canceled talks set for Tuesday in Newark, N.J., to protest the use of automated machinery at some ports, which the union says violates prior labor agreements.

The withdrawal from the bargaining table marks a harsh start to negotiations aimed at securing a contract covering more than 45,000 dockworkers at ports from Maine to Texas ahead of the current agreement’s expiration Sept. 30. A walkout at that time would come as goods are flowing into the country ahead of the end-of-year holidays and threaten the American economy just ahead of the presidential election.


The world’s flying again and jets are burning fuel like it’s 2019

Coming any minute now to a sky near you: a plane packed with people going on vacation, leaving wispy white contrails in its wake and memories of Covid-19 that seem like a bad dream.

The world is flying again. In the third quarter, 10.5 million flights are scheduled to crisscross the skies, according to industry data compiled by BloombergNEF. The International Air Transport Association is anticipating record passenger numbers this year, and planes that will be about as full as they were before the virus using record amounts of fuel.


Border agents reach tentative deal with Canadian government

Canadian border agents have reached a tentative agreement with the government of Canada, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and Customs and Immigration Union announced Tuesday.

The deal, which must still be ratified by union members, averts a strike that was set to begin at 12:01 a.m. ET Friday. A strike could have led to longer processing times for shippers trucking freight between the U.S. and Canada as well as traffic back-ups at more than two dozen border crossings.


Port of Baltimore Shipping Channel Reopens

The shipping channel at the Port of Baltimore has fully reopened, 11 weeks after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed when it was struck by a cargo ship.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the 700ft wide and 50ft deep channel has been restored to its original capacity and was now "safe for transit," reported BBC News.


Malaysia and China boost air cargo connectivity

Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Henan Aviation Group Co., Ltd (CHAGC) aimed at boosting air cargo connectivity and logistics between Malaysia and China.

This strategic partnership is anticipated to enhance the efficiency and reach of both airport operator groups by establishing new air cargo routes between Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO) and Kuala Lumpur International (KUL); creating routes linking Europe with Malaysia and strengthening KUL as a regional logistics hub.


World Shipping Council Releases Containers Lost at Sea Report - 2024 update

The World Shipping Council (WSC) today released its annual report on containers lost at sea, showing a significant decrease to 221 containers lost in 2023. While this is the lowest number recorded since the survey began in 2008, the WSC underscores the ongoing need for stringent safety measures and constant vigilance, as every container lost at sea is one too many.