BDP Trendwatch: Texas deep freeze will bring a fresh test to power grid; Covid cases for U.S. west coast dockworkers top all of 2021’s; Shippers plan for disruptions from Lunar New Year: survey

Texas deep freeze will bring a fresh test to power grid 

Texas is facing an Arctic blast this week that threatens to leave Dallas blanketed in snow, freeze oil and natural gas production areas and will test the state’s power grid.  

The cold will whip temperatures in Dallas from a high of 69 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) Tuesday to a low of 20 Thursday night, with ice and snow starting late Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures in Midland — business center of the Permian Basin — will drop to 15 degrees Wednesday and then plunge further Thursday night.  

“Combined with the ice and snow, unseasonable cold temperatures will impact the region,” the weather service said. “Temperatures will fall below freezing Wednesday and may not rise above freezing until the weekend.” Wind chills will make temperatures feel below zero for much of the area. 

Supply Chain Brain 

Covid cases for U.S. west coast dockworkers top all of 2021’s 

About 1,700 dockworkers at West Coast ports have tested positive for COVID-19 in January, stretching capacity at the U.S.’s busiest gateway for shipping containers. 

The number of infections for this month compares with 1,624 for all of 2021, according to the Pacific Maritime Association, which negotiates contracts with the International Longshore and Warehouses Union for 70 companies at 29 ports on the coast. About 80% of January’s reported infections were at the U.S.’s two largest ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Almost 15,000 ILWU workers are employed at West Coast ports. 

The absences and infections come as the terminals work to reduce congestion that’s likely to persist through 2022. Initiatives by authorities at the twin San Pedro Bay ports, such as threatening to penalize truckers and rail operators for not picking up containers, have seen the number of lingering boxes on the docks decline, but the freed-up space is now occupied by empty containers awaiting transport back to Asia. 

Supply Chain Brain 

Shippers plan for disruptions from Lunar New Year: survey 

Lunar New Year is fast approaching on Feb. 1 but ocean supply chain constraints such as high Transpacific rates, COVID-19 outbreaks and port congestion continue to grow. 

It's common for factories to shut down during the Lunar New Year, but with the ongoing challenges it will place additional limitations for some shippers. 

In previous years, factory output in China during the Lunar New Year was affected by the number of workers who took extended holidays. 

Supply Chain Dive 

India to set up 100 cargo terminals in three years 

The construction of new cargo terminals and the addition of trains to facilitate transportation of goods and passengers got huge importance in the announcement of India's fiscal budget for 2022-23. 

The country's finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman said India will develop 100 cargo terminals for multimodal logistics facilities during the next three years, while she added that as many as 400 new express trains will be launched in a period of three years to facilitate passenger and cargo movement. 

The government has also emphasised on infrastructure building through the prime minister’s Gati Shakti scheme, raising the allocation by around 36% over the year. 

Container News 

Alabama Port Authority to build new inland container intermodal transfer facility 

The board of directors of the Alabama Port Authority has given the green light to the construction of an inland container intermodal transfer (ICTF) facility in Montgomery, Alabama through the approval of a US$2.042 million purchase of a site of more than 1.1 million square metres in the city. 

The project is expected to extend intermodal rail service from the port authority’s container intermodal terminal at the Port of Mobile in support of Alabama's regional growth in manufacturing, retail, distribution, and agribusiness sectors.  

“This project will provide our shippers cost-competitive transportation services to and from one of the nation’s fastest growth containerised cargo gateways,” said John C. Driscoll, director and chief executive officer for the Alabama Port Authority. 

Container News 

New U.S. Virgin Islands open registry officially launched 

A new U.S. Virgin Islands open ship registry was officially launched Tuesday during an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. 

Maritime unions have issued a joint statement condemning the idea. 

The ship registry is part of a “Revitalization Plan for US Maritime Trade, Commerce and Strategic Competition,” developed by the Northeast Maritime Institute’s Center for Ocean Policy and Economics (COPE) and “advised by an array of leading thinkers in the maritime industry.” Northeast Maritime College (NMI) is a private maritime college based in Massachusetts. 

The plan has been billed by its designers as “the most relevant maritime initiative in past 75 years,” promising to “support and assist in resolving America’s supply chain crisis, ensure maritime sovereignty and security, and revitalize maritime commerce,” according to a press release announcing the launch. 

G Captain