Trendwatch: Sea-Intelligence reports average minimum transit time up 39% on Asia-Med routes; East and Gulf Coast port labor negotiations to start soon; Cargo movement slows at Brazil southern port amid flooding, officials say

Sea-Intelligence reports average minimum transit time up 39% on Asia-Med routes 

The Red Sea crisis has compelled shipping lines to reroute around the Cape of Good Hope, significantly extending sailing distances and consequently increasing transit times. 

 According to Sea-Intelligence, it is important to be cautious when assessing transit times, as impressive figures may be technically possible but often come with a caveat; they pertain to non-competitive port pairs that carriers do not typically market as such. 

"For an apples-to-apples comparison, we need to look at the shortest actual transit times for a port-pair i.e., the minimum transit time," pointed out Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence. 


Canadian Rail labor dispute talks restart; CN revises offer 

Canadian National Railway made a revised offer May 16 to the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, raising hopes of a settlement in a labor dispute portending major disruptions for shippers, carriers and logistics specialists across North America.  

Meantime, talks between fellow railroad operator Canadian Pacific Kansas City Railway and the TCRC restarted May 17. CPKC, whose railroad network spans large parts of the U.S. and Canada, said talks between the leadership teams restarted with the help of federal mediators. CN also planned to hold talks May 17, the railroad said. 


East and Gulf Coast port labor negotiations to start soon 

Although both sides want to reach a deal without any disruption, Daggett warned ILA locals last year to prepare for a strike if an agreement isn’t achieved by Sept. 30, adding that the union won’t extend the current pact as it pursues a landmark deal. 

A strike would add to the labor unrest shippers have had to account for in recent years, sparking heavy disruptions for U.S. supply chains reliant on East Coast and Gulf Coast imports. 


Gemini partners defend on-time target and promise cost competitiveness 

With the container shipping industry seemingly unable to improve its schedule reliability scores beyond the mid-50% range since the autumn, questions continue to be raised about the forthcoming Gemini cooperation’s on-time targets. 

The Gemini carriers – Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd – have set out a 90% on-time target, which they said would be achieved by doubling down on the use of transhipment across their new global network. 


Cargo movement slows at Brazil southern port amid flooding, officials say 

The Rio Grande port authority said the impact of excess rains and heavy flooding on cargo shipments will only be possible to assess at the end of the month, according to a statement on Friday in response to questions from Reuters. 

Bad weather has constrained and continues to constrain cargo movement at Rio Grande, which is the fourth largest in the country for soy exports and third largest for fertilizer imports. 

On Tuesday, the Rio Grande port authority had set a new draft of 12.80 meters (41.99 ft) for vessels at three grain terminals. Despite disruptions, all terminals have continued to operate, the port authority said. 


Port Houston records double digit container growth 

Port Houston continues to exceed last year’s container volumes and is up 12% through April with 1,394,094 TEUs. 

In April, 324,177 TEUs moved through the US port, which represents a 5% increase compared to the previous year's April figures. 

A closer look at container cargo shows strong volume for both loaded imports and loaded exports as both directions continue an upward trend. 


Post-Brexit border controls could cost U.K. nearly $6B 

An audit from the British government's National Audit Office (NAO) estimates that post-Brexit border controls will cost the country at least £4.7 billion ($5.9 billion) in programs to manage the flow of imports from the European Union.  

According to the Guardian, that figure would cover the cost of 13 border-related programs to deal with physical checks on plant and animal imports, safety and security declarations, and various other costs for ports receiving goods. The initial phase of post-Brexit border controls requiring health certifications for EU meat, dairy and plant imports began on January 31, 2024. Physical checks came into force on April 30.