The Port of Redwood City is “cautiously optimistic” about 2021 cargo volumes for imports and exports but the lack of annual ship channel dredging is allowing shoaling to worsen. The result is delays and higher costs for loading and unloading of vessels, according to Executive Director Kristine Zortman.
In response to complaints by U.S. exporters and Democratic and Republican Congressional representatives, the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced that it was ordering 10 ocean carriers and 17 marine terminals to report on demurrage and detention practices and penalties assessed on shippers as well as the availability of empty containers for U.S. exporters to ship their goods.
On March 9th, a group of Democratic and Republican Congressional representatives led by John Garamendi (D-CA) and Jim Costa (R-CA) announced that they authored a bipartisan letter to Michael A. Khouri, chair of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), voicing concern over reports that certain vessel-operating common carriers (VOCCs) are declining to ship U.S. agricultural commodity exports from U.S. ports.
Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) CEO John Wolfe reported March 3rd that container freight volumes rose by 9% in January 2021 compared to January 2020 totaling 288,289 TEUs. NWSA CEO John Wolfe expects strong first half of 2021.
The decision by French ocean carrier CMA CGM to make the Port of Oakland its first port of call in a new service from Asia is a reflection of importers and exporters developing new markets closer to their customers: “First-call status demonstrates the market is viewing the Port of Oakland more strategically which will attract increased cargo volumes,” says GSC Logistics Harbor Trucking President Dave Arsenault.
At the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, surging imports have left boxships awaiting berths and they are piling up like cars on the LA freeway at rush hour. However, new investments in electrical cargo-handling and electric trucks could streamline port operations, reduce emissions and lower costs. The Southern California ports plan to transition all diesel trucks working the ports to zero emissions within fourteen years. Can the goal of zero emissions really be achieved?
For those in international shipping and trade, 2020 became the Year of Living Virtually as dozens of conferences and trade shows eschewed cancelling due to pandemic travel restrictions and opted for going digital. And the WCA World, a networking association of independent international freight forwarders, has taken this online technology one step farther, opening up a glimpse into a virtual world once imagined as science fiction rather than an everyday reality.