Posted on July 8, 2024
Global shipping news

Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 28

Top Highlights

  • Air cargo charges set to surge 
  • Threat of port strikes in North America 
  • Port congestion challenge for shippers 
  • Storm Beryl keeps Texas ports on edge 
  • Trucking industry faces job decline 

Air Cargo Surcharges Loom for Peak Season 

Air cargo companies are preparing to introduce peak season surcharges by the end of August due to increased capacity pressures, according to Xeneta. Shippers might face substantial rate hikes in Q4, especially those relying on the spot market, which could see premiums soar by up to 50%. With demand growth slowing and strategic capacity retention by airlines, shippers are urged to secure longer-term contracts to mitigate costs. 

North American Port Strike Threats Intensify 

The threat of port strikes in North America is causing significant concern in the shipping and logistics industry. A potential 72-hour strike by Canadian port workers was narrowly averted, but the possibility of further disruptions looms with Canadian rail workers and US dockworkers in ongoing labour disputes. Such strikes could exacerbate already stretched supply chains, leading to increased ocean rates and logistical challenges. 

Global Container Port Congestion Escalates 

Global container port congestion is approaching levels last seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, with 9 million TEU currently tied up. The Clarksons report attributes this surge to vessel rerouting around the Cape of Good Hope and robust trade volumes, which have grown 8% year-on-year. Clarksons is renowned as the world’s biggest shipbroker. As shippers rush to move goods ahead of the peak season, equipment bottlenecks and increased port wait times are further complicating logistics operations. 

Texas Ports Shut Down Ahead of Tropical Storm Beryl 

Major ports in Texas, including the largest energy terminals in the US, shut down operations as Tropical Storm Beryl approached. The ports of Corpus Christi, Galveston, Houston, and Freeport are on high alert, with significant disruptions expected due to the storm’s impact. The closures come as the National Hurricane Center warns of severe weather conditions, potentially causing delays and backlogs in cargo handling. 

Trucking Industry Sees Slight Job Decline in June 

The trucking industry in the United States saw a slight decline in jobs in June, with a reduction of 100 positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This drop continues a trend of minor fluctuations in the sector, reflecting the current stability in employment despite low spot rates. Industry experts suggest that a full rate recovery is unlikely before 2025, emphasizing the need for stability in the short term. 

House of Shipping Insight 

From anticipated peak season surcharges in air cargo to potential labour strikes and weather-induced port closures, shippers must navigate a landscape fraught with volatility. Effective planning and strategic long-term contracts are crucial to mitigate costs and ensure resilience amid these disruptions.  

Shipping & Logistics News Wrap, Week 28

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