‘Outdated’ U.S. intermodal infrastructure is letting us down, claim farmers and exporters

By Alexander Whiteman

A coalition of U.S. farmers and their forwarders claims the country’s logistics infrastructure is “inadequate” and domestic business is losing out to imports. Board member of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition (AgTC) Donna Lemm told a Senate Committee hearing that failing intermodal transport threatened the U.S. economy. “All over the country we are faced with bottlenecks, delays and handcuffs in our ability to execute within the supply chain,” she said. (more…)

Tumbling Asia-to-U.S. rates could hamper carriers in contract renewal talks

By Mike Wackett

Container spot rates from Asia to the U.S. are sliding fast, with the early March Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI) recording a further 10 per cent drop for the U.S. west coast and 7 per cent for east coast ports.

With new annual contract negotiations about to begin in earnest, transpacific carriers hoping to secure a 20 per cent+ rate hike from BCOs will need a very convincing pitch, and get meetings booked early, before rates tumble even further. Due to a positive impact on rates from the front-loading of cargo in the latter part of last year, designed to beat the threatened imposition of a new 25 per cent duty on a wide range of consumer goods, spot rates are still above the level of a year ago. The U.S. west coast component of the SCFI stands at $1,549 per 40ft, 23 per cent higher than 12 months ago, with the rate for the U.S. east coast at $2,640 per 40ft, 11 per cent ahead. (more…)

Logistics set up for ‘a fall of catastrophic proportions’ in a no-deal Brexit

By Alexander Whiteman

Panic is setting in among UK logistics operators as the country approaches its departure from the European Union. With just 17 working days between now and the scheduled 29 March withdrawal, industry associations are expressing “deep concern” at the lack of preparedness. The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has warned that logistics operators may find themselves liable for difficulties arising from a no-deal withdrawal. It said: “Given the likelihood of customs clearance delays following a hard Brexit, it could be argued that such delays are both expected and thus could be avoided.” (more…)

Research “ping” points bridge-crossing delays

By Keith Norbury

Most of the goods traded between Canada and the U.S., still one of the world’s leading trading partnerships, crosses the border in trucks. And most of those trucks pass over three bridges straddling two rivers connecting the Great Lakes of Huron, Erie, and Ontario. Until recently, however, little was known about long it takes trucks to cross the border. That all changed recently when researchers at the University of Windsor’s Traffic Lab obtained GPS data from nearly 400,000 border crossings by about 60,000 trucks owned by 750 companies. The researchers crunched the data, millions of GPS “pings” in total, to reveal details about how long they waited at the border at different times of the day and year as well as their directions of travel. (more…)

Canada stuck in middle of elephantine clash of civilizations

Canada stuck in middle of elephantine clash of civilizations

By Keith Norbury

When two elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers. Jia Wang, Deputy Director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, invokes that African proverb to describes Canada’s position in a tariff turf war between the world’s economic elephants — China and the U.S. “In a way, Canada is like that grass,” said Ms. Wang, who was born and raised in China but has been a Canadian resident for 16 years. “It’s caught in between these big global economic superpowers and if for some reason the trade situation worsens, I think on balance it’s not going to be good for Canada.” (more…)