This Week In Global Logistics – TWIGL

WTO Decides that China’s Rare Earth Restrictions Violate Rules – On Wednesday of this week, a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel decided that China’s export laws restricting rare earth metals violate international trade law. China is by far the largest supplier of rare earth elements and their importance continues to grow as they are used in the manufacture of various technology products including hybrid electric cars, smartphones, and other electronic goods.  While Beijing argues that their restrictions are for environmental reasons, China may face sanctions as a result of the WTO’s decision. 

Read more from the NY Times

Pressure to Change Rest Regulations for Cargo Pilots – After last year’s crash of a UPS freighter in Alabama, the company’s pilots are pushing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to change rest requirements for cargo pilots.  Beginning in January, commercial passenger pilots received new limits to their maximum flying time as well as minimum off hours between flights.  UPS pilots are seeking the same requirements for cargo pilots.   

Read more from About Logistics

Vancouver Port Strike Ends – Vancouver port truckers are expected back at work Thursday after a strike that restricted up to 90% of container activity.  The dispute stemmed from pay issues, specifically unpaid time that drivers spend waiting at the terminals.  As part of the new agreement, the government raised minimum hourly wages for the port truckers.

Read more from the CBC

This Week in Global Logistics

Port of Long Beach Equipped with Shore Power – This week, shipping executives and Port of Long Beach officials dedicated the Port’s newest shore power installation. Shore power is part of the Port of Long Beach’s Green Port Policy and Clean Air Action Plan. Ships need electricity when parked to operate lights, pumps, ventilation, communication systems, as well as refrigerated containers. These functions are traditionally powered by the ship’s diesel-powered auxiliary engines. Using land-side electricity, or cold ironing as it is known, reduces the carbon footprint of docked ships.

Read more from POLB

New Deal to Stimulate U.S.-Asia Trade – The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a new regional trade group formed to stimulate trade between the U.S. and Asia among its 9 member countries. The free trade agreement will lower tariffs on many U.S. exports and is designed to spur outbound shipping, especially from the West Coast ports. Notably, the new agreement does not include China due to concerns over intellectual property, labor and environmental protection.

Read more from Eye For Transport.

Air Freight Traffic Expected to Triple – Airbus’ 2011-2030 Cargo Global Market Forecast expects air freight traffic to nearly triple in the next 20 years. To handle the increased demand, the report estimates that the air freight industry will require 834 additional air craft. Airbus Senior VP stated that air cargo growth is being driven by emerging world markets in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa.

Read more from Supply Chain Digital.

New California Human Rights Act Targets Supply Chains – California’s Transparency Supply Chain Act (TSCA) will go into effect January 1, 2012. The TSCA requires many retailers and manufacturers to post online disclosures of their efforts in assessing risk of human trafficking and slavery in their supply chain. Interestingly, the law focuses on the disclosure of the company’s efforts, rather than mandating specific actions.  Therefore, trade lawyers at Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg point out that a company can technically comply by simply stating that no efforts have been made toward risk assessment.  However, this type of disclosure is unlikely as consumer interest in corporate responsibility continues to grow.

Read more from Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A. 

This Week in Global Logistics

UK Okays Armed Guards Against Piracy – To combat piracy, the UK will now allow armed guards aboard ships in dangerous shipping lanes. It is expected that up to 100 vessels will apply to use armed guards within the next month. According to Prime Minister Cameron, this is a very important step forward, considering that the UK was one of the few nations that prohibited armed guards on cargo vessels. London-based International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents over 80% of the world fleet, said that the program is a short term fix for a long-term problem.

Read more from JOC.

Air Freight Operations Impacted by Thailand Flooding – Due to continuous flooding in Thailand, air cargo volumes are expected to drop in the short-term. The automotive and electronics industries are expected to be the hardest hit. After floodwaters subside, pent up demand will likely result in a shipping resurgence. On a human level, the floods have led to approximately 400 deaths and displaced thousands of residents. There is still no clear projection as to when floodwaters will recede.

Read more from Supply Chain Digital.

Reefer Container Scare Leads to Stoppages of Two Oakland Terminals – Longshoremen at the Port of Oakland refused to work vessels carrying potentially faulty refrigerated containers. The containers in question were serviced in Vietnam and  are reportedly volatile when powered up. Maritime authorities report that three of the reefer containers exploded or have caused fire, resulting in two fatalities in Vietnam, and one in Brazil. Before working vessels, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) demanded that a full maintenance history of the containers be provided.

Read more from Mercury News.

Russia to Join the World Trade Organization – After accepting a trade deal with Georgia, Russia nears the end of its 18 year wait to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). Russia’s membership in the WTO will be the biggest step forward in world trade since China’s entry ten years before. Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, stated that WTO entry is important to the nation’s economic growth. Membership in the WTO could increase the size of Russia’s economy by 3.3% in the short term, and up to 11% in the long term.

Read more from Reuters.

This Week in Global Logistics

air freight takeoff at origin

Boeing Largest Cargo Plane Ready for Deliveries – Boeings new 747-8 freighter has completed its certification flights and is expected to be fully certified within weeks.  The new plane has a larger cargo capacity than its predecessor as well as being 24% more fuel efficient.  According to the Boeing website, the 747 fleet has flown more than 42 billion nautical miles; or, the equivalent of 101,500 round trips from the Earth to the Moon.

Read more from Wired.

Indian Exports Booming – India’s exports for Q2 increased nearly 46% compared to the same period last year.  Furthermore, the government expects that the country’s rapidly growing economy will see its current export values double in a few short years.  India’s largest container ports are Jawaharlal Nehru (Nhava Sheva) and Chennai.

Read more from the JOC.

Record Ice Melt Expands Artic Shipping Lanes – Ice is melting in the Artic Sea at near record levels and allowing for ships to navigating shipping lanes without the aid of icebreaker ships.  With these lanes open, vessels can significantly reduce transit times from Eastern Europe to Asia as well as other destinations.  While advantageous for shippers in the region, many are concerned about other long term effects of climate change.

Read more from Bloomberg.

Russia Close to WTO, But Obstacles Remain – Despite remaining political issues, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev believes his country’s chances of joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2011 are high.  Relations with Georgia (a WTO member), which were severed in 2008 amid a brief conflict, are a major hurdle.  Russia is the largest country that is not a member of the 153-nation group.

Read more from Reuters.

This Week in Global Logistics

container ship at portCarriers Push for “No-Show” Fees – Maersk and APL are moving toward a system of penalties to be charged to shippers whose containers fail to meet cutoffs for their intended vessel.  According to Maersk, 30% of booked containers never show up for their planned departure.  The carriers will use pilot programs in certain tradelanes before expanding the practice. 

Read more from the JOC.

U.S. West Coast Port Closed for “Bloody Thursday” – U.S. West Coast Ports will be closed on July 4th and 5th.  As is annual tradition, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) use July 5th to recognize “Bloody Thursday,” the anniversary of a 1934 labor dispute that resulted in the death of two dockworkers.

Bomb-Resistant Cargo Hold Being Tested – A new bomb-resistant baggage hold is being tested by engineers in the U.K.  The team of researchers has developed a flexible enclosure made of advanced materials designed to absorb an explosion.  Initial test have been promising and it is possible for the new technology to make its way to commercial aircraft within two years. 

Read more from Wired.

Restaurant Made of Shipping Containers – A new restaurant in San Antonio, Texas is made entirely of cargo containers.  The four retrofitted containers house a kitchen, beverage car, restrooms, and office space.  The owner plans on expanding using more containers, including a stage for live music performances.

Read more from My San Antonio.

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