What We're Reading: Trendwatch Week 47

CN Rail strike begins, threatening Canada oil, grain shipments

About 3,200 workers at Canadian National Railway Co. went on strike at midnight Tuesday, threatening to crimp shipments of oil, potash and grain across the country.

Conductors and railyard operators at Canada’s largest railway walked off the job after failing to reach an agreement with the company over issues including working conditions and drug benefits, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference union said.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to reach a deal with CN,” the union said in a statement. Workers have been without a contract since July and served a strike notice on Saturday.

Source: American Journal of Transportation

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the rail strike and potential impact on your shipment, please reach out to your local BDP representative.


Malaysia bans open-loop scrubbers

Malaysia has joined the list of nations and regions moving to ban the use of open-loop exhaust gas scrubbers in the run-up to the IMO2020 sulfur cap implementation. 

"Malaysia prohibits the discharge of washwater from [open-loop scrubbers] whilst in Malaysian water (12 nautical miles from the nearest land)," said maritime regulator Jabatan Laut Malaysia in a statement posted to its site November 12. “Ships calling to the Malaysian ports are advised to change over to compliance [sic] fuel oil or change over to close loop system (if hybrid system) before entering Malaysian waters and ports."

Source: Maritime Executive


Is there a truck driver shortage or a utilization crisis?

A recent study from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that at the end of 2018, the country needed 60,800 more over-the-road drivers to meet demand, and the shortfall could increase to 100,000 in five years.

The industry cites many reasons for this perennial problem, but an overlooked cause we are studying is that — somewhat perversely — the existing driver workforce is not getting enough work.

Source: Supply Chain 24/7


Where is the new China?

As the trade war carries on and labor costs rise, supply chains seek a new home for manufacturing and sourcing. But each alternative location comes with pros and cons.

When President Trump called on U.S. companies to pull out of China, panic ensued in the business community. That potential edict blew over, but the ongoing threats and enaction of tariffs are a major reason American companies are looking to shift manufacturing and sourcing out of China. A survey this summer from the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai showed 26.5% of its 333 respondents said they redirected investments initially planned for China to other regions in the past year. That figure was 6.9 percentage points higher than the previous year.

Source: Supply Chain Dive 

U.S., India and other major trade partners demand compensation for Brexit-related trade loss

At the World Trade Organization meeting in Geneva, major economic powers like the U.S., India and Brazil that trade with the U.K. have raised concerns on the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, as their commercial losses mount over the extension of the divorce deadline. 

While the spotlight on Brexit has largely revolved around trade complications that will arise between the U.K. and the European Union (EU), seldom have the disruptions that this decision causes to countries trading with these two economic powerhouses been discussed. 

Source: Freight Waves