Trendwatch: Panama Canal headaches not so painful for box ships, but costs will rise; West Coast ports snag market share from rivals, Los Angeles port chief says; India to ask EU for measures to align emission trading systems

Container cargo ship, Global business import export commerce trade logistic and transportation worldwide by container cargo ship boat in the open sea, Freight shipping maritime vessel.

Panama Canal headaches not so painful for box ships, but costs will rise

Containerships are proving less vulnerable to Panama Canal draught restrictions than other shipping sectors, but the resulting overall supply chain costs are expected to be significant. 

Daily transit and weight restrictions have been imposed on ships transiting the canal since last March in a bid to preserve water levels after drops caused by higher temperatures, a delayed rainy season and the El Nino weather phenomenon. 

On 1 January, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) increased the number of transit slots up for auction to 24 a day, from 22. Before restrictions, there were around 34 to 38 daily transits.


West Coast ports snag market share from rivals, Los Angeles port chief says

Cargo volumes at the Port of Los Angeles rose 2% year over year to 742,519 total TEUs in December, marking five months of consecutive growth at the port. Los Angeles also ended the year as the country’s top container port, according to Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka.

“Bringing back cargo and the related jobs is our big priority,” Seroka said during a “State of the Port” address on Jan. 10. “That’s why we are pleased to see a 3% bump in our West Coast market share compared to East and Gulf Coast ports.”


India to ask EU for measures to align emission trading systems

India will ask the European Union for concessions that will help align its planned national carbon market with the bloc’s emissions trading system, according to people familiar with the matter.

New Delhi plans to raise the potential impacts of the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, or CBAM, on domestic industries at the seventh round of negotiations on a proposed free trade agreement from Feb. 19 to 23, according to the people, who asked not to be named as the discussions are private. India wants to try and shield its companies from the full impact of the levy, they said.

The EU tax is aimed at preserving the integrity of its emission trading system by preventing European firms from importing goods with a high carbon footprint without incurring the related cost — a practice known as carbon leakage. Exporters such as India argue that it will make their products more expensive and dent their competitiveness.


Port NOLA secures grants for Louisiana International Terminal project

The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) has been awarded an additional US$226,220,195 in a federal grant to assist in building the Louisiana International Terminal (LIT).

The US Department of Transportation notified Congress that it intends to award this funding through its Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) competitive Grant Program.

In addition to the US$226 million INFRA Grant, the US DOT recently awarded Port NOLA US$73.77 million through its MEGA Grant program, totaling US$300 million in federal grants to support the first construction phase of the US$1.8 billion container terminal.


Pentagon: Airstrikes degraded Houthis' ability to attack ships

The Pentagon believes that yesterday's joint strikes against Houthi rebel forces were successful, a spokesman said in a statement Tuesday. The U.S. and UK hit eight Houthi air defense and antiship missile sites in an attack overnight Monday, attempting to reduce the group's capacity to attack shipping in the Red Sea.

Battle damage assessments are ongoing, but the Department of Defense and its international partners "assess that the latest strikes were successful in further degrading Houthi capabilities." Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands supported the strikes, the Pentagon said.

"These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade . . . including anti-ship ballistic missile and unmanned aerial system attacks that struck two U.S.-owned merchant vessels," said the six partner nations in a statement.


Three-State New England wind solicitation delayed for tax guidance

Citing the need for additional guidance from the federal government on the tax code as it pertains to energy credits, Massachusetts along with Connecticut and Rhode Island informed regulators at the end of last week that they intend to delay their current offshore wind solicitation program. The three states had agreed to a coordinated solicitation which is currently underway and was scheduled to close at the end of the month, but will now be extended by at least two months.

“In light of the current uncertainty around federal tax guidance,” the states wrote to the regulators saying they are “concerned that the existing solicitation schedule may produce bids that do not maximize the potential clean energy tax benefits of offshore wind.” They write that they believe it is critical to revise the schedule to encourage the most cost-effective bids.