Rail issues, rising container dwell times and a backlog of ships in China pose threats to continuing supply chain improvements at the Port of Los Angeles. Still, port leaders and union leaders expressed confidence on Tuesday in their ability to handle a potential surge.
Cargo volumes were already slightly up in March, with 958,674 TEUs crossing the piers. That's a slight increase from last year, and the port ended Q1 with volumes up 3.5% YoY.
The increase in cargo was unexpected, coming off a strong March 2021, Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said during his virtual monthly briefing. He attributed the rise in volumes to better fluidity on the docks and improved labor availability with fewer dockworkers out with COVID-19.
Russia’s war with Ukraine will slow the world economy’s nascent rebound from the pandemic, reduce goods trade and potentially lead to a broader splintering of global commerce, the World Trade Organization said.
The Geneva-based trade body lowered its projection for growth in merchandise trade this year to 3%, down from its previous projection of 4.7%. The WTO also said Tuesday it expects trade growth of 3.4% in 2023 and cited a number of downside risks to its assessment, including food insecurity and a possible resurgence of the virus.
“History teaches us that dividing the world economy into rival blocs and turning our backs on the poorest countries leads neither to prosperity nor to peace,” WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said. “The WTO can play a pivotal role by providing a forum where countries can discuss their differences without resorting to force, and it deserves to be supported in that mission.”
An unknown number of containers have been washed away by the heaviest rains in more than six decades and the resultant flooding in Durban, South Africa.
Local media report that at least 45 people have lost their lives, while dozens missing. Meanwhile, there are several posts on Twitter saying that people are looting and stealing whatever they can find at destroyed boxes and storage facilities.
South Africa's largest logistics and freight operator Transnet, which runs the Durban port, has suspended operations across its terminals since 11 April. In a statement, Transnet said, "shipping has been suspended until further notice as a result of damage caused by the adverse weather, and vessels on berth are on standby."
Dotting the sea off Chinese ports are 477 bulk cargo ships waiting to deliver resources from metal ore to grain into the country.
Queues of vessels carrying raw materials have jumped after Shanghai initiated a city-wide lockdown at the end of last month to combat COVID-19. More than two weeks on, the congestion has expanded to nearby Ningbo-Zhoushan as ship-owners desperately divert ships to other ports in the country to avoid the trucker shortage and warehouse closures in Shanghai.
There were 222 bulkers waiting off Shanghai as of April 11, 15% higher than a month earlier, according to Bloomberg shipping data. At Ningbo-Zhoushan there were 134 carriers, 0.8% higher than last month, while further north, the combined ports of Rizhao, Dongjiakou and Qingdao saw a 33% increase to 121 vessels.
Scrutiny over plastic waste is leading ocean carriers to make changes to the commodities they export.
CMA CGM, one of the top ocean carriers in the world, will no longer export plastic waste. The decision to ban plastic waste onboard their ships comes at a time when sustainability and environment-friendly practices are in high demand from customers and regulators.
U.S. plastic scrap exports fell by 11% in 2021 with 557 million kilograms of plastic scrap exported compared to 629 million kilograms in 2020, according to U.S. export data.
Containers started coming off the Ever Forward over the weekend amid the ongoing effort to lighten and refloat the ship in Chesapeake Bay.
The operation commenced on Saturday, almost four weeks after the Ever Forward grounded and following two unsuccessful attempts to refloat the ship late last month.
Approximately 500 of the total 4,964 containers on board are expected to be offloaded prior to the next refloating attempt, according to the Coast Guard.
The supply chain gridlock at major U.S. ports has small shipping hubs working at record pace to ease the crisis.
Nationwide, smaller ports have increasingly become viable alternatives to congested coastal docks.
The Port of Cleveland, which ranked 49 out of 50 on the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ 2020 list of top U.S ports, reported a 69% increase in "tonnage" in 2021. Officials at the Port of Cleveland told FOX Business a significant increase in goods both in and out of containers, as well as iron ore shipments, drove the increase.