Newsletter – February 16, 2021
AIR FREIGHT UPDATES
‘It’s a juggling act’ say handlers as cargo congestion swamps Europe’s airports
Forwarders and other stakeholders are being urged to help stem the chaos at airports, as multiple hubs and handlers across western Europe face severe congestion, with no sign of flows easing despite China’s holiday.
Cargo flows continue to be high – but also unpredictable – and handlers say they expect volumes to continue throughout the Chinese new year break. Read more here (login required)
Etihad first airline to vaccinate full crew
Etihad Airways has become the first airline in the world with all its operating pilots and cabin crew vaccinated to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and give passengers who travel with the airline peace of mind. Read more here.
OCEAN FREIGHT UPDATES
Congestion on both coasts of North America
Congestion at ports on both sides of North America remains a severe issue, though the ship queues do look to be easing this week.
According to a client update from German liner Hapag-Lloyd yesterday there are currently 35 ships at anchor waiting to berth at the US’s top two ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach due to the spike in import volumes and lack of dockside labour thanks to a Covid outbreak. This figure is down by two ships from January 29. Fortunately California has started an urgent vaccination programme for its hard-hit dockworkers. Read more here.
Shippers baulk as contract box rates spike to massive highs
Contract rates as measured by the 23-year-old China (Export) Containerized Freight Index (CCFI) have risen faster than ever recorded putting containerlines on course to register improved profits this year, even over 2020’s stellar performance. However, latest data seen by Splash shows many shippers are baulking at signing lengthy contracts now, willing to wait till the market cools. Read more here.
GROUND AND RAIL FREIGHT UPDATES
CP Customer Advisory: Extreme Cold Weather Update
The polar vortex impacting weather on CP’s network from the Prairie operating region (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba) to Northern Ontario, North Dakota and Minnesota last week is expected to moderate into this week. Until it does, CP’s winter operating plan and train-length restrictions will be enacted as needed. Customers may expect near-term delays of up to 48 hours. Customers are encouraged to build additional time into their plans while this weather continues to impact CP operations.
News Alert: Canadian National train derails in Chicago suburb
A Canadian National Railway (NYSE: CNI) freight train derailed about 8 a.m. Monday at an intersection with Metra UP-W tracks in West Chicago, according to Metra spokesman Michael Gillis.
Metra UP-W is a commuter rail line operated by Union Pacific Railroad (NYSE: UNP). Its trains were not passing West Chicago after the derailment. Read more here.
CANADA BUSINESS – GOVERNMENT UPDATES
Rovinescu leaves Air Canada
Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada’s president and CEO, retired on February 15, 2021. The deputy CEO and CFO, Michael Rousseau, succeeds him.
“I have enjoyed a unique and very special relationship with Air Canada and our outstanding people for over three decades, on the front lines of many of the company’s defining moments – the 1988-1989 privatization, the defence against a hostile bid for Air Canada in 1999, our merger with Canadian Airlines in 2000, the aftermath of 9/11, leading the 2003-2004 restructuring and many others,” Rovinescu said. Read more here.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS- GOVERNMENT UPDATES
Truckers join protests in Myanmar adding to pressure on supply chains
Mass political protests from an emerging civil disobedience movement has caused further freight disruption in Myanmar.
Following the military coup on 1 February, thousands of Burmese have taken to the streets to demand a return to democracy.
Local news reports and social media posts suggest an increasingly tense situation: there are violent clashes between protesters and police; internet blackouts; and arrests of journalists and protest leaders. Read more here.
Transportation troubles continue across frozen South
The historic winter that hit the South Sunday and Monday is gone. But several states remain bitterly cold and roads remain covered in ice and snow.
Besides road closures, several airports and intermodal terminals are closed. Meanwhile, millions of people have no electricity, and a follow-up storm is forecast to hit many of the same areas later Tuesday. Read more here.
Can retailer prudence derail the inventory restocking thesis?
The retail inventory restocking thesis has been touted by nearly every industry analyst (us included) as a promising growth driver for freight given the continued strength in consumer demand (thank you, stimmy) and historically low inventory-to-sales ratios. While this holds true for the majority of segments, especially the pandemic favs (furniture, home improvement, electronics), apparel companies are a different story. Read more here.