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Texan Ports Reopen as Hurricane Beryl’s Impact Subsides

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Texan Ports Reopen as Hurricane Beryl’s Impact Subsides

Port Houston has announced that its terminals will resume operations on July 10, while the Port of Corpus Christi has begun its transition to post-storm recovery. On July 9, Port Houston offered extended gate hours for customers at its container terminals, advising them to monitor notices and alerts for updates on gate hours throughout the week.

Read also: American Logistics Aid Network Mobilizes in Texas After Hurricane Beryl

Port personnel at the Port of Corpus Christi are assessing the hurricane’s impact as the port transitions to post-storm recovery per the 2024 Hurricane Readiness Plan. Port offices reopened on July 9 for normal operations. Critical port facilities, including the Emergency Operations Center, Security Command Center, and Harbormaster’s Office, maintained continuous operations.

“The Port of Corpus Christi Ship Channel is now open as outlined in the latest Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) 60-24 issued by U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Sector Air Station Corpus Christi,” stated the port’s latest advisory. The USCG Captain of the Port Corpus Christi has rescinded Port Condition Zulu for several waterways, including the Intracoastal Waterway from MM 521 near Rockport to the US/Mexico Border, the Rockport Cut, Lydia Ann Channel, Corpus Christi Ship Channel, and La Quinta Channel, effective 11:00 am on July 8, 2024.

As of July 9, port vessel operations at the Port of Galveston remain suspended, although roadways, including Harborside Drive, have reopened. The Port of Galveston reported that port administration offices remained closed on July 9 due to power outages affecting the port and the city.

Hurricane Beryl, which hit the Texas coast near Houston as a Category 1 hurricane, forced some of the largest Texan ports to close, leading to a surge in vessel traffic. The hurricane left significant destruction in the Caribbean, claiming at least 11 lives according to Reuters.

In August 2023, a Category 4 hurricane swept through Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, causing ports across Southern California to experience record-breaking rainfall.

global trade hurricane

Hurricane Beryl Shuts Down Major Texas Ports Amid Strengthening Storm

Hurricane Beryl has forced the closure of several major ports in Texas, leading to a surge in vessel traffic near the Houston coast. According to Reuters, the hurricane has already left a path of destruction in the Caribbean, claiming at least 11 lives.

Currently a Category 1 hurricane, Beryl is expected to intensify to a Category 2 by the time it makes landfall on Monday, as reported by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The 52-mile Houston Ship Channel, which provides access to eight public facilities and approximately 200 private terminals, imposed transit restrictions on July 7 before completely halting traffic. This led to the closures of the Ports of Corpus Christi, Houston, Galveston, Freeport, and Texas City, as Coast Guard captains set the condition ‘Zulu’ over the weekend.

With gale-force winds expected within the next 12 hours, all vessel movements and cargo operations are restricted. The NHC reported that an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft found Beryl’s maximum sustained winds had increased to nearly 75 miles per hour (MPH).

Last August, a Category 4 hurricane sweeping through Mexico’s Baja California peninsula caused ports across Southern California to experience record-breaking rainfall.

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U.S. Container Imports Surge in June 2024 Amid Port Labor Stalls

June 2024 U.S. container import volume declined 2.1% from May but increased 10.4% compared to the same month last year. Compared to May 2024, imports from China remained flat in June 2024 but boasted 13.8% growth over June 2023. Port transit delays at most West Coast Ports improved while East and Gulf Coast ports experienced marginal increases. July’s update of logistics metrics monitored by Descartes reinforces the strength of imports since the beginning of 2024. Despite strong U.S. container imports, the risk of global supply chain disruptions remains high as the Middle East conflict and news of stalled labor negotiations at U.S. South Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports threaten the stability of global trade.

Read also: Rising US Imports Drive Increased Activity in the US Container Trading Market

In this Article…

  1. June 2024 U.S. imports grew 10.4% year-over-year.
  2. West Coast ports import share advances versus East and Gulf Coast ports.
  3. Port transit times for West Coast ports decrease overall, while East and Gulf ports experience increased delays.
  4. Panama Canal capacity continues to improve.
  5. Israel-Hamas war continues to threaten trade through the Middle East.
  6. Imports at Gulf Coast ports decreased in volume.
  7. The Port of Baltimore reopens.
  8. The potential for labor disruptions at South Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports later this year increased as contract talks stalled. 
  9. Managing supply chain risk: what to watch in 2024.
  10. Consider recommendations to help minimize global shipping challenges.   

Despite a marginal month-over-month decline, import volumes remain considerably higher compared to June 2023

June 2024 U.S. container import volumes declined from May 2024, decreasing 2.1% to 2,297,979 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). Versus June 2023, TEU import volume was up 10.4%, continuing to demonstrate exceptional year-over-year performance (see Figure 1). 

Figure 1: U.S. Container Import Volume Year-over-Year Comparison

global trade import
Source: Descartes Datamyne™

Although month-over-month import volume declined, this was the second smallest May-to-June decrease in the previous six years, ignoring import volume performance during the 2020 pandemic (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: May to June U.S. Container Import Volume Comparison

global trade import
Source: Descartes Datamyne™

For the top 10 U.S. ports, container import volume in June 2024 decreased 59,625 TEUs (-2.9%) versus May 2024 (see Figure 3). The ports of Los Angeles (up 33,253 TEUs) and Charleston (up 14,552 TEUs) experienced the greatest container volume increases from May. The ports of New York/New Jersey (down 59,933 TEUs) and Norfolk (down 28,738 TEUs) posted the largest volume declines.

Figure 3: May 2024 to June 2024 Comparison of Import Volumes at Top 10 U.S. Ports

global trade import
Source: Descartes Datamyne™

Although Chinese import volumes into the U.S. remained high in June at 891,456 TEUs, they were mostly flat month-over-month (up 0.1% from May) while recording impressive performance over June 2023 (up 13.8%). Compared to the August 2022 high of 1,003,725 TEUs, June 2024 Chinese imports are down 11.2%, continuing to narrow the gap between the benchmark year (see Figure 4). The top two commodity codes (HS-2s) continued to be consumer-oriented goods such as HS-94 (Furniture, Bedding, etc.) and HS-39 (Plastics and Articles Thereof). China represented 38.8% of the total U.S. container imports in June, an increase of 0.8% from May but still down 2.7% from the high of 41.5% in February 2022.

Figure 4: June 2023 – June 2024 Comparison of U.S. Total and Chinese TEU Container Volume

global trade import
Source: Descartes Datamyne™

For the top 10 countries of origin (CoO), U.S. container import volume in June 2024 declined 5,182 TEUs, a -0.3% decrease from May (see Figure 5). South Korea and Taiwan experienced the most growth, increasing 4,672 TEUs and 3,952 TEUs, respectively. Imports from Germany (down 8,845 TEUs) and Vietnam (down 3,298 TEUs) experienced the greatest volume decreases.

Figure 5: May 2024 to June 2024 Comparison of U.S. Import Volumes from Top 10 Countries of Origin

global trade import
Source: Descartes Datamyne™

West Coast ports recapture share versus East and Gulf Coast ports.

In June 2024, container import volume share at West Coast ports grew from May as East and Gulf Coast ports receded. Comparing the top five West Coast ports to the top five East and Gulf Coast ports in June 2024 to May 2024 shows that total container import volume at the top East and Gulf Coast ports decreased to 41.4% (down 0.7%) of total container import volume, and the top West Coast ports increased to 44.6% (up 2.5%). Compared to smaller ports, share at the top 10 ports in June 2024 fell slightly to 86.1% (down 0.6%) (see Figure 6).

Figure 6: Volume Analysis for Top Ports, West Coast Ports and East and Gulf Coast Ports

Source: Descartes Datamyne™

Port transit time delays improved among most West Coast ports while East Coast delays extended.

Apart from Tacoma, West Coast port transit delays improved in June 2024. The Port of Long Beach saw the greatest improvement, reducing delays by 2.5 days. East Coast port delays worsened, and Savannah reported the largest increase, adding 1 day to the port’s average delay (see Figure 7).

Figure 7: Monthly Average Transit Delays (in days) for the Top 10 Ports (Apr. 2024 – Jun. 2024)

Source: Descartes Datamyne™

Note: Descartes’ definition of port transit delay is the difference as measured in days between the Estimated Arrival Date, which is initially declared on the bill of lading, and the date when Descartes receives the CBP-processed bill of lading.

Panama Canal continues to improve daily transits.

In June, the Panama Canal Authority announced that starting July 11, daily transits would increase from 32 to 33, and will again increase on July 22 to 34 daily transits. An additional transit slot has been scheduled to open August 5 which would bring total transits to 35just 1 shy of the canal’s normal operating capacity of 36 daily transits.

Israel-Hamas war continues to threaten trade through the Middle East.

The attacks and ongoing threats on shipping in the Red Sea by the Houthi from Yemen continue to force shippers to divert cargo that would traditionally move through the Suez Canal to longer and more expensive shipping lanes. Shipping concerns will likely increase if the Middle East is further destabilized.

Weaker Gulf Coast import performance.

At 216,902 TEUs, import volumes at the Gulf Coast ports fell in June compared to May (down 8.7%) (see Figure 8). Gulf Coast ports’ transit times were unchanged in June 2024.

Figure 8: July 2023 to June 2024 U.S. Gulf Coast Container Imports

Source: Descartes Datamyne™

Port of Baltimore reopens.

Seventy-eight days following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, the Port of Baltimore reopened on June 10. The 700ft (213m) wide and 50ft (15m) deep channel has been fully restored and was deemed “safe for transit” by the US Army Corps of Engineers. June import volumes at the port reached 3,753 TEUs, a far cry from the 45,435 TEUs recorded in June 2023, but it is too soon to tell if, and when, import volumes will recover to levels preceding the incident.

International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) suspends talks with the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) 

On June 10, the ILA announced it had suspended negotiations with the USMX which were scheduled to take place June 11. The potential severity of trade disruption stemming from the expiration of the ILA and USMX agreement is currently unknown. The agreement is scheduled to expire at the end of September 2024 and, if no resolution is reached, labor action could disrupt operations at these ports. ILA leadership has communicated that they do not intend to extend the current agreement and have advised members to brace for the possibility of a coast-wide strike in October 2024. 

Managing supply chain risk: what to watch in 2024.

U.S. container import volume decreased in June 2024 but maintained a strong position when compared to 2023 and pre-pandemic 2019 statistics for the same period. The economy continues to exceed expectations; however, conflict in the Middle East, pending ILA contract negotiations, and recovering trade flows at the Port of Baltimore, point to potential trade disruptions. Here’s what Descartes will be watching in 2024 to see if global supply chain performance will continue to improve:

  • Monthly TEU volumes between 2.4M and 2.6M. This level will continue to stress ports and inland logistics until infrastructure improvements are made. June U.S. container import volumes remained manageable, falling shy of 2.3M TEUs. 
  • Port transit wait times. If they decrease, it’s an indication of improved global supply chain efficiencies or that the demand for goods and logistics services is declining. June transit delays decreased at most West Coast ports while East and Gulf Coast ports saw increased delays. 
  • Continuing impact of the pandemic. The spread of COVID subvariants continues to add uncertainty to the trajectory of the pandemic and impact supply chains in unpredictable ways as different countries are affected at different times and for different durations. The impact on supply chains and logistics resources has yet to be observed but developments need to be closely monitored throughout the year.   
  • The economy. The U.S. is an import-driven economy, so economic health is an important indicator of container import volumes. As of June 3, the Federal Reserve borrowing rate remained at 5.3% to slow inflation which reduced 0.1% from May’s reported 3.3%. Job growth remains strong, and the unemployment rate has remained favorably low. 
  • Panama Canal-based trade flow. Infrastructural upgrades show promise for near normal daily transit slots as it is scheduled to reach 34 daily transit slots in July and 35 in August—slightly below the canal’s normal operating capacity of 36. 
  • Middle East conflict. Attacks on shipping in the Red Sea by Houthis from Yemen are continuing to influence carriers to forego the Suez Canal, extending transit times, and negatively impacting global shipping capacity. The impact of diversions away from the conflict is still minimal on volumes or transit delays for the East and Gulf Coast ports.  
  • ILA/USMX contract negotiation. A potential strike on the South Atlantic and Gulf Coasts could disrupt U.S. container imports later in 2024. Given the current Panama Canal situation, shifting volume to West Coast ports could be extremely challenging or significantly extend transit times. The ILA cancelled planned June negotiations.

Consider recommendations to help minimize global shipping challenges.   

June 2024 U.S. container import volumes were down slightly compared to May 2024. West Coast port transit delays show overall improvement in June compared to May while East and Gulf Coast ports fall behind. Concerns surrounding the Panama Canal begin to ease as daily transits are scheduled to reach just shy of normal transit capacity by August. Ongoing conflict in the Middle East is creating pressure on global supply chains that could cause disruptions throughout 2024, and negotiations between the ILA and USMX could fuel disruption at the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports later in the year. Descartes will continue to highlight key Descartes Datamyne, U.S. government and industry data in the coming months to provide insight into global shipping.  

Short-term: 

  • Evaluate the potential impact of an ILA strike in October 2024 on South Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports to determine alternate ports or trade lanes. 
  • Monitor East Coast port volumes to assess the recovery of the Port of Baltimore. 
  • Track the progress of the Panama Canal Authority’s execution of planned daily transit increases. 
  • Track the Middle East conflict as carriers divert shipping around Africa and impacting shipping capacity and timeliness. 
  • Track the spread of COVID variants to determine when they will hit critical parts of the supply chain, especially in China. 
  • Track ocean shipments and carrier performance as there is still a considerable gap between original ETAs and actual ones.   
  • Evaluate the impact of inflation and the Russia/Ukraine and Israel/Hamas conflicts on logistics costs and capacity constraints. Ensure that key trading partners are not on sanctions lists.  

Near-term:  

  • For companies importing from Asia, reevaluate trade that was moved away from West Coast ports. 
  • For companies that have cargo moving through the Suez Canal, evaluate the impact of extended rerouting. 

Long-term:  

  • Evaluate supplier and factory location density to mitigate reliance on over-taxed trade lanes and regions of the globe that have the potential for conflict. Density creates economy of scale but also risk, and the pandemic and subsequent logistics capacity crisis highlights the downside. Conflicts do not happen “overnight” so now is the time to address this potentially business disrupting issue.  

Note: This report uses the initial compiled release of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data and is subject to revision later by CBP. The revised data can be seen in Descartes Datamyne.

 

global trade port

A Chinese-backed Peruvian Port has the US Spooked 

A Chinese-financed megaport in Peru aims to accelerate the continent’s trade with China, but Washington is growing uneasy with continued Sino-influence so close to home.  

Read also: U.S. Increases Tariffs on Chinese Imports to Protect Domestic Industries

Few people outside of Peru had heard of Chancay, a sleepy city of just over 50,000 residents 45 miles north of Lima. But, when a port project was pitched as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Infrastructure Initiative (BRI) to the Peruvian government, it didn’t take long to align the two nations. 

Launched in 2013, BRI initially intended to connect East Asia and Europe through physical infrastructure projects. However, over the last decade, China has rapidly expanded its reach, extending BRI into Oceania, Africa, and Latin America. Currently, around 147 countries, representing two-thirds of the world’s population and a staggering 40 percent of global GDP, are either engaged in BRI projects or in the pipeline to do so. 

The $3.5 billion Chancay port is funded by Chinese bank loans and majority owned by the China Ocean Shipping Group (Cosco). Other regional ports have larger container-handling capacity, but at roughly 60 feet of depth, the Chancay port will be the first Pacific Coast port in South America capable of receiving megaships. The appeal of megaships rests on their delivery capacity, but ports require costly dredging and infrastructure improvements to accommodate them. In this respect, without Chinese financing, a Peruvian port of this size was unthinkable.

One of the attractive selling points of the port was the notable reduction in travel time from the region to China. The trans-Pacific journey currently spans 35 days with stops in large ports such as Long Beach, California. Estimates point to a massive reduction to just 20 days from Chancay to Shanghai once operational. Moreover, the seventh-largest economy in the world is now in the neighborhood, and analysts expect future Chinese investment to connect Chancay and Brazil via the construction of new highways and railways.

Washington’s worry is two-fold: expanding Chinese influence in the region and the potential for future military installations. While BRI projects have grown significantly, and the Chinese potential for expanded military presence is vast, to date China operates just one logistics base in Djibouti and a paramilitary outpost in Tajikistan. Yet, a recent RAND report details Chinese interest in Cambodia, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, the Solomon Islands, the UAE, and Vanuatu. Couple those with a March 2024 Newsweek report of additional interest in Cuba, Pakistan, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, Washington’s anxiety does not appear irrational. 

Chancay Port will boast an initial 1.5 million TEU capacity, and China is already the principal trade partner of nearly every South American country. Peru has had a long history with the Asian superpower, and Chinese firms control nearly all of the capital city’s power distribution and hold significant investment positions in at least five mines.    

When BRI was first announced, China was wrestling with US influence through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Obama administration’s free trade initiative with Europe. For China, infrastructure spending seemed like an easy way to deal with excess foreign exchange reserves, an oversupply of goods with weak domestic demand, and Xi’s central message of the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

Like the US Marshall Plan after World War II, BRI’s proponents argue that China is responding to developing country infrastructure demands. Moreover, the fact that these initiatives are ongoing and do not have hard completion target dates allows China to declare success as it sees fit. 

From a pure commercial and trade perspective, Chancay to Shanghai in 20 days is an extraordinary win. US interests in the region might believe otherwise, but development projects in Latin America are not apportioned solely to China. 

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Rising US Imports Drive Increased Activity in the US Container Trading Market

A recent survey conducted by Container xChange, on its platform, revealed that the container (shipping) traders and leasing companies in the US are witnessing fierce competition and holding up of inventories due to price pressures. However, they do not experience significant hurdles liquidating their inventory. This comes as a positive sign for the container logistics market in the US despite the broader global uncertainties and challenges.

Read also: May 2024 U.S. Containerized Imports Break 2.3M TEUs

The customers also reported increased container movement on the platform in the past six months as compared to last two years. 

“E-Containers has undergone a transformative journey with Container xChange, establishing approximately 50 new partnerships, executing around 90 trading deals, and transacting 25% of its monthly business volume through the platform.” shared Andres Valencia, CEO of E-containers, a Miami-based container trading company. The company attributes this remarkable progress to Container xChange’s liquidity capabilities.

“We went from 50 to over 500 leased containers in just three months,” says Arnaud Maendly, partner and co-founder of MG-Atlantic Sarl, a dynamic player in the container trading market, primarily catering to freight forwarders and traders in Latin America and the Middle East. 

The latest U.S. trade data, published earlier this month, indicated a notable increase in imports in the US, particularly in automotive vehicles, capital goods, and industrial supplies.  According to Descartes, May 2024 U.S. container import volume continued its robust 2024 growth, increasing 6.2% from April and 11.9% when compared to the same month last year. This surge in imports highlights strong demand for container shipping services to handle the increased volume of goods entering the United States. The rise in exports, though more modest, also points to steady demand for outbound shipping services. Despite the overall increase in the trade deficit, the growth in both imports and exports suggests that the container shipping market remains robust, with opportunities for shipping companies to capitalize on the heightened activity in international trade. However, the widening goods deficit and ongoing trade imbalances may signal potential challenges in managing logistics and supply chain efficiency, emphasizing the need for agile and adaptable container shipping solutions.

The majority of respondents described the US container market as ‘fiercely competitive.’ In such a market, having command over data and visibility is crucial for operational sustenance and for business growth. “It’s essential to have a good grip on container prices and leasing rates to know the best times to liquidate inventory or hold off. Understanding the container market in China and Asia is another critical factor for the container traders in the US.,” inferred Christian Roeloffs, co-founder and CEO of Container xChange, the online marketplace for container trading and leasing.

“Our customers in the US benefit from real-time container price data, enabling them to make informed decisions. Many of our customers, especially in Houston, are growing their businesses through deals made on our platform with trusted partners, saving hours of mundane workload. Smart decision-making is key,” added Roeloffs.

Explaining the impact that technology has made to their business, Nicholas Barrera, Inside Sales at E-Containers explains, “Behind the screen are CEOs, founders, top managers, and shareholders, elevating communication and partnership formation to a whole new level. E-Containers values Container xChange for providing unique access to top-tier executives and decision-makers within partner companies”. The marketplace facilitates clear and efficient communication, optimizing business negotiations and collaboration. 

The US container trading market has had to navigate challenges such as trade tensions, particularly between the US and China, leading to shifts in trade routes and adjustments in supply chain strategies. These tensions have impacted container flows, but the market has benefited from well-developed port infrastructure and increasing digital adoption. Platforms like Container xChange facilitate smoother transactions and greater market transparency, helping traders connect with reliable partners and manage their inventory efficiently.

“While the market shows positive signs, operational challenges such as port congestion, labor shortages, and logistical bottlenecks continue to pose risks. These issues can cause delays and increase costs for traders,” cautioned Roeloffs.

 

global trade

AD Ports and ITC Partner to Enhance Global Trade Facilitation

AD Ports Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO), to advance trade, logistics, and transportation initiatives globally. The MoU was signed on June 28 by Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO of AD Ports Group, and Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of ITC.

Read also: WTO Report Highlights Remarkable Five-Fold Surge in Global Trade Over 28 Years

Under the MoU, AD Ports Group and ITC will deploy a range of solutions to streamline commerce and enhance the efficiency of the UAE’s transport, marine, ports, and logistics sectors, along with those of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and developing nations. The collaboration aims to evaluate and improve frameworks and policies in these areas, aligning them with global best practices and enhancing border services.

A significant aspect of the partnership is the provision of technical support to developing and least developed countries (LDCs), focusing on the implementation of the WTO Commerce Facilitation Agreement (TFA) to enable faster and smoother cross-border trade. The cooperation also aims to make trade more inclusive and accessible for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), fostering dialogue and consensus-building.

AD Ports and ITC will offer advisory support to design SME-led trade strategies and business solutions while promoting the role of women traders through empowerment programs and initiatives. The collaboration will involve the promotion of joint services and solutions, as well as participation in events, conferences, and workshops related to customs digitalization, trade facilitation, ports, maritime, and logistics.

The two entities will also share experiences, networks, capacity-building, and training in key areas of trade facilitation and customs excellence. Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi emphasized the importance of the partnership, stating, “Our cooperation with ITC in trade facilitation services and solutions will streamline transactions, integrate more small businesses into value chains, and enhance our overall efficiency. ITC shares our commitment to sustainability, and together we can achieve our environmental goals.”

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of ITC, highlighted the benefits of the partnership, saying, “Through our collaboration with AD Ports Group, we aim to leverage their technology and advanced trade facilitation solutions to boost the competitiveness of SMEs in international trade and create a more efficient, inclusive, and sustainable trading environment.”

In a related development, AD Ports Group signed an MoU with Saif Powertec Ltd. in June to explore potential cooperation on operational projects and projects under development in various ports in Bangladesh.

truck The port of Long Beach in april handled more shipments of export cargo and import cargo in international trade. global trade

Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports Invest $25 Million in Electric Truck Charging Infrastructure

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have announced a joint investment of $25 million in collaboration with regional air quality authorities to establish charging infrastructure for electric heavy-duty drayage trucks in one of the nation’s busiest areas.

Read also: Port of Long Beach Secures $300 Million for Major Green Infrastructure Projects

The Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee’s $135 million initiative will see the construction of up to 207 charging stations at eight sites across Southern California, including Wilmington, Rancho Dominguez, Rialto, Fontana, Commerce, and the Port of Long Beach. The South Coast Air Quality Management District will oversee project contracts.

Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, stated, “We’re investing with our Clean Truck Fund to get both zero-emission (ZE) trucks and infrastructure on the street as quickly as possible. In addition to funding charging stations, we’re partnering with the state of California to offer vouchers of up to $250,000 toward the purchase of a ZE heavy-duty truck. Every day, we’re making progress toward our goal of a zero-emission port.”

This week, the Los Angeles Harbour Commission and the Long Beach Harbour Commission each authorized a $12.5 million allocation from their respective Clean Truck Funds for this initiative.

The Clean Truck Fund Rate, which began collection in April 2022, supports the ports’ objective of transitioning to a zero-emission truck fleet by 2035 as outlined in the Clean Air Action Plan. The rate is set at $10 per TEU and $20 per forty-foot equivalent unit. Containers transported by zero-emissions trucks are exempt from the charge, as are low-nitrogen oxide trucks in specific instances.

By March 2024, the Port of Los Angeles had reportedly collected around $78 million, while the Port of Long Beach had collected nearly $75 million through this initiative.

Additionally, the Port of Long Beach recently announced it will receive $283 million from the federal government to assist in building ‘America’s Green Gateway.’

global trade port of long beach

Port of Long Beach Secures $300 Million for Major Green Infrastructure Projects

The Port of Long Beach has been awarded $283 million from the federal government to support the development of ‘America’s Green Gateway,’ a project designed to enhance cargo capacity via rail, expedite deliveries nationwide, alleviate congestion, and mitigate local environmental impacts.

Read also: St. Louis Based Tech Firm Partners With Port Of Long Beach to Create a Supply Chain Information Highway

This significant funding, provided through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Mega Grant Program, will be directed towards the port’s Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility. Valued at $1.567 billion, this facility is the cornerstone of the port’s on-dock rail improvement initiative. By facilitating the direct movement of containers to and from marine terminals by train, the on-dock rail system aims to reduce truck traffic, thus offering a cleaner and more efficient cargo transport solution. Once operational, the new facility will eliminate the need for cargo trucks, instead using smaller train segments that will be assembled into full-sized trains at the facility.

Given the critical role of the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility in the national supply chain, the Port of Long Beach continues to seek additional funding partners. In July 2023, the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) announced a $158 million grant from the Port and Freight Infrastructure Program to support the Pier B project, reinforcing its importance to the state’s cargo movement strategy. Previously, the federal government had allocated nearly $105 million to the project. To date, the port has secured over $640 million in grant funding for Pier B.

Construction of the new facility is set to begin next year. The project will expand the existing Pier B rail yard from 82 acres to 171 acres and will increase the port’s on-dock rail cargo capacity from 1.5 million TEU to 4.7 million TEU annually. Additionally, the yard will include a depot capable of fueling and servicing up to 30 locomotives simultaneously and a full-service staging area for assembling and disassembling trains up to 10,000 feet long. The overall project will be executed in phases, each designed to enhance cargo flow, with completion anticipated by 2032.

“Reliable and efficient transportation of goods is crucial for keeping our economy thriving while protecting the air we breathe,” stated U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. “The Port of Long Beach is a leading international hub for cargo transport, and this project will reduce truck emissions while promoting economic growth and efficiency. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are strengthening our supply chain, creating jobs, and improving air quality in near-port communities across the region.”

Mario Cordero, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Long Beach, highlighted the transformative impact of the funding, saying, “This facility will enhance the efficiency of cargo movement to homes and businesses across America and from U.S. producers to international markets, delivering systemwide benefits to the supply chain. We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Senator Alex Padilla, and Congressman Robert Garcia for recognizing the significance of this project and making a substantial investment in sustainable, efficient cargo transport.”

Earlier this year, the Port of Long Beach took significant steps towards a sustainable future by upgrading its rail infrastructure and improving air quality, laying the groundwork for this landmark project.

global trade ports

Rising Shut-Down Risks to Affect US East Coast and Gulf Coast Ports 

Maersk is at the center of a pending strike that could significantly disrupt US East and Gulf Coast ports ahead of back-to-school and the holiday season. The International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA) represents union workers at the East and Gulf Coast ports and suspended labor contract talks earlier in the month with the US Maritime Alliance (USMX) over a dispute with Maersk’s presumed implementation of an autonomous gate system in the Port of Mobile, Alabama. 

Read also: US Importers Brace for Freight Rate Surge Amid Strike Threat at East and Gulf Coast Ports

The ILA claims that Maersk’s incorporation of an automated gate violates the coast-wide Master Contract. Once again, the ILA’s long-standing concern that automation could result in the potential elimination of ILA jobs is at the forefront. Meanwhile, Maersk asserts that it remains in full compliance with the contract, and the standoff has paused contract negotiations for the time being. 

A potential strike could affect operations across roughly 36 ports between Maine and Texas. The ILA represents 85,000 port workers in Gulf Coast ports and along the eastern seaboard, and the master contract is set to expire on September 30th. The union’s chief negotiator, Harold J. Daggett, has maintained his stance on union opposition to port automation coupled with exclusive port contracts for union members. 

If history is any indication, unions and ports tend to reach agreements. Yet, the ILA is seeking substantial wage increases in excess of the 32% increase it had secured for West Coast ports last year. In July, for example, the Great Lakes District of the union closed an impressive 40% wage and benefit increase for its new six-year contract. 

In a year where global shipping had not been decimated by man-made hostilities, drought conditions, and spiking container rates, a looming strike would have more shippers spooked. But this year all of the above are front and center, and shippers are accustomed to the chaos. A strike would not occur until October, and while there has been a moderate shift in flows from the east to west coast ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach, it’s only been in the 2% to 5% range. Container throughput in Los Angeles was down 3% in May (year on year), and volumes at Long Beach had dropped 8.2%.      

global trade port

Port of Hueneme Commits to Zero Emissions by 2030 in Historic Announcement

The Port of Hueneme, operated by the Oxnard Harbor District, has announced a groundbreaking goal to achieve zero emissions by 2030. This historic declaration was made during the World Oceans Day event on June 11.

Read also: Innovative Strategy Reduces Cargo Ship Emissions by 17.3%

Significant Investment and Progress

Reaching zero emissions will require a substantial investment in electrical charging infrastructure and equipment, estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars. The Port has already invested heavily, with over $100 million in additional investments and grants lined up to facilitate the transition from fossil fuels. This effort builds on years of progress in reducing emissions through the use of low and zero emissions vehicles and equipment, alongside collaborations with partners to adopt cleaner technologies.

Commitment to Sustainability

“The Port of Hueneme’s zero-emission blueprint initiative is a critical step in our commitment to environmental sustainability and climate action,” stated Celina Zacarias, President of the Oxnard Harbor District Board of Harbor Commissioners. She expressed gratitude to the California Energy Commission for its crucial funding and support, which has brought the Port closer to its ambitious 2030 goal. Zacarias highlighted the essential role of community, labor, and business partnerships in Ventura County in achieving this vision.

Strategic Transition

The Port’s blueprint includes having all cranes powered by electricity, vessels achieving zero emissions at berth through shoreside power and emission control systems, and transitioning handling equipment and port vehicles to zero emissions by 2030. Collaboration with the trucking community and ocean carriers will also be essential for transitioning away from fossil fuels, although this will be a separate initiative from the zero-emission blueprint.

“We are excited to work closely with our trades and community to develop zero-emission solutions and aim to be the first zero-emission port in the U.S.,” said Kristin Decas, CEO and Port Director of the Port of Hueneme.

Comprehensive Planning and Support

Port Environmental Manager Giles Pettifor noted that the blueprint has been in development since 2021, supported by a two-year zero emissions energy study funded by the California Energy Commission. The study explored clean fuels such as electrical grid power and hydrogen fuel cells, concluding that electrical grid power is the optimal solution for achieving zero emissions.

Broader Environmental Initiatives

In 2022, the Port secured federal funding to develop a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan under the Port of Hueneme’s Reducing Emissions, Supporting Health (PHRESH) program, reflecting its ongoing commitment to public health and air quality improvement.

 Celebrating World Oceans Day

The zero-emissions announcement was a highlight of the Port’s World Oceans Day celebration, “Catalyze Action for Our Ocean & Climate,” held at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum in Oxnard. The event featured a keynote panel and recognized maritime industry companies and community organizations with awards for their contributions to ocean sustainability.

The Port’s ambitious zero-emission goal depends on substantial external funding and equipment availability, and it will not include ocean-going vessels or drayage trucking.