Newsletter – March 20, 2023
AIR FREIGHT UPDATES
WestJet freighters set for takeoff following conversion approval
Transport Canada has certified WestJet’s four B737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters to enable the airline to launch all-cargo operations.
Until now, the airline has been unable to use its freighters as Boeing awaited certification of its conversion programme. Read more here.
Maersk sells Maersk Supply Service to A.P. Moller Holding for $685m
Danish shipping giant Maersk has reached an agreement to divest its offshore energy contractor Maersk Supply Service to A.P. Moller Holding, the parent company of its owner A.P. Moller Group.
The transaction has an enterprise value of $685m and includes a wind installation vessel under construction in Singapore by SembCorp Marine. Read more here.
OCEAN FREIGHT UPDATES
West coast ports suffering as US container imports plunge by 37%
As anticipated, US container imports in February were massively down from the highs of the previous year, with US west coast ports in particular suffering a huge 37% drop.
According to the McCown report, which covers the top ten US container ports, import throughput last month fell a record 28%, to 1,454,438 teu, the lowest level since March 2020, as extremely weak demand was exacerbated by the Chinese New Year falling ten days earlier than last year. Read more here (login required).
New FMC rule expands shippers’ eligibility for carrier refunds
WASHINGTON — A new rule requiring ocean carriers to refund importers and exporters for illegal overcharges and potentially for other violations of the U.S. Shipping Act will go into effect next month.
The changes, set out in a final rule scheduled to be published by the Federal Maritime Commission on Monday, are in the form of amendments to the FMC’s Rules of Practice and Procedure governing the assessment and collection of civil penalties. They codify provisions included in the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) of 2022. Read more here.
Crunch time for trans-Pacific container shipping contract talks
The annual contract season is down to the final stretch in the trans-Pacific shipping market. U.S. import costs, liner profitability and service reliability all hinge on where contract prices settle in the next few weeks.
The plot twist this year is that the prior round of annual contracts were signed at historically high levels and the timing of the current contract RFP season coincides with a period of still-sinking spot rates. Read more here.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS – GOVERNMENT UPDATES
Analysis reveals how trillions in pandemic aid led to freight volume explosion
A FreightWaves analysis of the monthly Personal Income and Outlays report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) indicates that extraordinary federal government programs boosted personal income by an estimated $2.3 trillion from March 2020 to December 2022. The BEA identifies these as “federal pandemic response programs.” Read more here.
New Delhi launches massive multi-textile park project to boost exports
The government of India has approved the development of seven large textile parks across the country to transform the emerging Asian economy into a global hub for textile manufacturing and exports.
The planned projects, part of what New Delhi called the PM Mitra scheme, will be located in seven states: Virudhunagar, in Tamil Nadu; Warangal, in Telangana; Kalaburagi, in Karnataka; Amravati, in Maharashtra; Navsari, in Gujarat; Dhar, in Madhya Pradesh; and Lucknow, in Uttar Pradesh. Read more here.