Container shipping outlook 2024: Rising risk of delays, disruptions
The supply chain crisis is long over, but America’s importers still have a lot to keep them up at night as they plan for 2024. Two key container shipping “chokepoints” — the Panama Canal and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait in the Red Sea — are simultaneously under threat. Container-line financials are under severe pressure, forcing ever more vessel sailings to be cancelled. The dockworkers union serving East and Gulf Coast ports is threatening to strike next October. While freight rates are low, concerns over delays in import shipments are high.
Port of New Orleans nets $73M federal grant for container terminal
The Port of New Orleans has been awarded a $73.77 million federal grant to advance the first construction phase of the $1.8 billion Louisiana International Terminal project. The container terminal will be capable of handling 2 million twenty foot equivalent units annually and ultra-large container vessels once completed in 2028. The Louisiana International Terminal will be constructed in the municipality of Violet, about 14 miles down the Mississippi River from the Port of New Orleans. Plans for the terminal include a 350-acre container facility with a 3,500-linear-foot wharf on more than 1,000 acres.
Trailer orders plunge 38% in November compared to October.
Trailer orders tanked in November, falling 38% from October accompanied by the lowest production rate since last year. OEM Wabash said during a third-quarter earnings call Oct. 25 that its first-to-final-mile portfolio would offset softer near-term demand for dry vans. Easing of customer demand for goods following a surge during the pandemic has led to low spot rates, excess capacity and drivers surrendering Department of Transportation authority’s sought when spot rates hit record highs.
Cargo owners consider airfreight alternative to Red Sea shipping delays.
Global businesses, uncertain how long the shipping crisis in the Red Sea will last and with a looming shortage of vessels for the export rush before China’s New Year celebration, are scrambling to shift some ocean cargo to airlines, according to logistics specialists. Major container lines have rerouted vessels around the Horn of Africa or docked them in safe locations to avoid the threat of drone and missile attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.
Companies spent the better part of a year bringing down excess pandemic inventories to normal levels and may not have sufficient safety stock if the Red Sea bottleneck continues to disrupt shipping, said Trine Nielsen, Flex port’s head of ocean for Europe, the Middle East and Asia. She encouraged shippers to plan for extra lead times and rate increases, and to book shipments early.
DHL Express workers at Cincinnati airport reach deal, end strike.
DHL Express has reached a tentative deal with ramp workers at its Cincinnati air hub, ending a 12-day strike and sympathy action by Teamsters members at other locations across the United States that caused parcel delays during the busy gift-giving season. The Teamsters union announced Tuesday that negotiators tentatively settled a dispute over a new contract. Striking workers at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) are working their regular shifts Tuesday, said union spokeswoman Kara Deniz.
DHL Express rerouted some freighter aircraft and reassigned other workers to mitigate the effects of the 12-day work stoppage, but some shipments were still disrupted. The expansion of the work stoppage to other locations in a show of support for the CVG workers led to undelivered packages piling up at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Boeing Field