eBulletin 1

Month in Review – May 2024

Monthly Review June 05, 2024


May 1: Indian Trade Disrupted as Port Congestion Forces Liner Services to Skip Calls – The Loadstar

Container lines are wrestling with growing service reliability challenges on connections out of India – the longer journey around southern Africa and congestion problems at hub ports en route, particularly Jebel Ali, have taken a toll on their operations.

CMA CGM and MSC have announced port call changes on several Indian services to help schedule recovery, sparking serious concerns for shippers and forwarders.

According to industry sources, the widespread disruptions have left carriers constantly shuffling gate cut-offs or cargo carting windows for their Indian sailings over the past few weeks, making shipment planning increasingly difficult for exporters and freight forwarders.

May 3: Houthis Escalate Threats Against Shipping, Launching “Fourth Stage” – The Maritime Executive

The leader of the Houthi movement called for a further escalation of the attacks on shipping, citing the potential attack on the city of Rafah and as Western pressure grows on Hamas to accept the terms of a proposed ceasefire.

“The Yemeni armed forces announce the beginning of the implementation of the fourth stage of escalation,” Houthi spokesperson Yahya Saree announced. He said it was effective immediately from “the moment of this statement.”

The statement said they were targeting all ships “violating the ban on Israeli navigation,” and heading to Israeli ports in the Mediterranean. They vowed attacks in “any reachable area” within their range, which some media outlets are interpreting as a threat against ships in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Houthis also threatened to expand their attacks to “all ships and companies that are related to supplying and entering [Israeli ports] of any nationality if a military operation is launched against Rafah” in southern Gaza. The United States and other Western allies have been pressuring Israel not to attack Rafah, while the Israeli government and military continue to accuse the leaders of Hamas of hiding among the civilian population of Rafah.

May 6: Maersk Warns Red Sea Impact Widens, Creating Capacity Constraints and Costs – The Maritime Executive

The largest container carriers are warning customers of increased disruptions and costs after the Houthis widened their attacks further into the Indian Ocean and have threatened to further expand the attacks. Both Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd said they will be further diverting ships, with Maersk raising its surcharges as it warns of increased costs and capacity constraints.

“The effects of the situation in the Red Sea are widening and continue to cause industry-wide disruptions,” Maersk wrote in a May 6 customer advisory. “The complexity of the situation in the Red Sea has intensified over the last few months…The risk zone has expanded, and the attacks are reaching further offshore.”

Maersk is reporting that bottlenecks and vessel bunching as well as delays and equipment and capacity shortages are developing. They report using 40 percent more fuel per journey while saying that charter rates are currently three times higher, often fixed for five years.

May 8: Container Fleet Adds Record Capacity as Orders Become Deliveries – The Maritime Executive

The global containership fleet continues to experience record capacity growth in the number of TEU capacity added to the fleet in 2023 and again so far this year. While industry executives continue to express concern over the mid-term overhang on capacity, near term it has helped to offset the impact of the diversions away from the Red Sea and the lower number of daily transits at the Panama Canal.

Industry trade group BIMCO calculates that 2.3 million TEU of containership capacity was delivered in 2023, beating a previous record by 37 percent. To put these volumes in perspective, Alphaliner calculates the global container fleet numbers just over 6,900 vessels with a total capacity exceeding 29.6 million TEU.

The pace of new deliveries has not slowed in 2024. BIMCO reports another new record has been set so far this year. It calculates that more than 1 million TEU capacity was delivered in the first four months of 2024. That represents an 80 percent increase compared with the previous record.

May 10: BCMEA–ILWU Local 514 Bargaining Update – BCMEA update

The BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Ship and Dock Foremen Local 514 (ILWU Local 514) continued negotiations with the support of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).

Citing “the union bargaining committee’s intransigence at the bargaining table,” the BCMEA filed a complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board on May 10.

The 21-day cooling-off period concluded at 12:01 am PT on May 10. Therefore, the parties have acquired the legal right to strike or lockout, but may not exercise their right to strike or lockout until a strike or lockout vote has been taken and a 72-hour strike notice, including date and time of intended action, has been provided to the other party and the Minister of Labour.

May 10: A ‘Carrier-Controlled Market’ as Spot Rates Rise and Capacity Tightens – The Loadstar

“You take away all sense and rationale. And whatever is left, is the container shipping market,” said Peter Sand, Xeneta’s chief analyst, on May 10.

The continuing Red Sea crisis, in combination with higher-than-expected demand, caught many Asia-Europe forwarders on the back foot over the past two weeks, and in the week of May 6 the spot freight rate indices began to match anecdotal trade reports.

Spot rate rises were strong on the Asia-North America trades, with the XSI transpacific trade rising 145%, to $3,754 per 40ft, while the WCI Shanghai-New York leg showed a 116% jump, to finish the week at $5,089 per 40ft.

May 10: Renewed Piracy Menace Endangers Red Sea Shipping Routes – Global Trade

The resurgence of piracy in the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa poses a grave threat to maritime security, with recent attacks by Somali pirates sparking renewed concerns for international trade and the safety of crew members. Exploiting the diversion of naval forces’ attention towards the Houthi crisis, Somali pirates have resurfaced, casting a shadow of fear and instability over the region.

May 13: Ocean Carrier Cocktail Leaving a Sour Taste in Shippers’ Mouths – American Shipper

The ocean carrier cocktail is back and it packs a punch. Two parts canceled sailings that spice up spot rates, coupled with a stiff pour of general rate increases, leaves shippers with a dull headache and a thinner wallet.

While this iteration of the cocktail is not as strong as previous ones, it is potent enough to sour shippers’ stomachs. With no end in sight to the Red Sea diversions and “meh” consumer demand, ocean carriers are in lockstep with their mission of trying to establish an artificial floor to stave off rate erosion and add some girth to their wallets.

Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at Xeneta, says the market right now contains equal shares of “desperateness, defying gravity and frontloading.”

May 15: ILWU Local 514 Delays Serving 72-Hour Strike Notice on DP World to Take Part in Federal Mediation – ILWU Local 514 press release

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 514, representing ship and dock foremen, has agreed to delay serving 72-hour strike notice on employer DP World Canada at Centerm in order to take part in federal mediation and is refuting claims made by the BC Maritime Employers Association about the dispute.

May 16: Panama Canal Slowly Returning to Normal Operations – gCaptain

The increase in water levels in the Panama Canal has sparked hopes of a potential return to normal operations for container shipping after over a year of restrictions due to a severe drought. However, experts warn that the situation, while improving, is far from returning to pre-restriction levels.

Starting on May 16, the Panama Canal Authority has increased the daily number of ships allowed to transit the waterway from 24 to 31.

Peter Sand, Chief Analyst at Xeneta, says the increase will provide limited relief for container shipping services, since the increase corresponds to additional slots in the smaller panamax locks. However, a more meaningful change is anticipated on June 1, with an additional transit slot for larger Neopanamax ships (including containerships), which will raise the daily total to 32. Meanwhile, authorities also plan to increase the draft limits for Neopanamax ships from 44 feet to 45 feet on June 15, bringing it closer to the normal limit of 50 feet.

The disruption caused by the water shortage in the Panama Canal has had a significant impact on scheduling reliability and spot rates.

May 20: Mounting Container Shortages Creating ‘Total Havoc’ – The Loadstar

Containers out of northern China are becoming increasingly hard to get hold of, report forwarders. A surprisingly strong market, plus lower vessel capacity due to the Red Sea crisis, is creating a shortage of both ships and containers.

“There is a very real shortage of 40’ HC in China – we are all running out,” said Hans-Henrik Nielson, global development director at CargoGulf.

“When I say it’s week-to-week scrambling, I’m really not exaggerating.”

Ligentia confirmed the shortage on May 20 in a message to customers. “Equipment stock, particularly in North China, is tight and varies daily based on vessel arrivals and the discharge of empty containers.”

It added that in Shanghai, “almost all carriers are lacking empties, especially CMA and ANL”. Vessel waiting time at the port is now three to 14 days, it added, due to port congestion. “Across almost all carriers we are seeing schedule delays.”

It also noted that carriers are struggling to obtain containers across many more Chinese ports, including Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd in Yantian, Cosco, HMM, Hapag-Lloyd and MSC in Ningbo, Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk in Tianjin, and Cosco and CMA CGM in Qingdao.

May 23: Port of Prince Rupert Receives Funding to Build Export Logistics Hub – PRPA press release

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has reached financial close on a $150 million loan to the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) for the first phase of a project to build CANXPORT. The new export logistics hub will expand capacity and capabilities for rail-to-container transloading of multiple export products at the Port of Prince Rupert.

Work has already begun to prepare for the new facility, located a short distance from Fairview Container Terminal.

The facility will enable the containerization of bulk commodities with room to expand and diversify to handle additional cargoes in the future. The project’s scale, unit train capabilities and integration into existing container terminal operations are expected to facilitate substantial opportunities to exporters that enhance container supply chains and ways to reach international markets. The hub’s initial annual capacity will be 400,000 twenty-foot equivalent units.

May 24: Shipper Fury as Spot Rates Soar – And Box Lines Ignore Contracts – The Loadstar

The sense of genuine anger amongst North European shippers and freight forwarders was palpable this week as they struggled to digest rapidly escalating spot freight rates.

The ascent steepened over recent weeks, with Drewry’s WCI Shanghai-Rotterdam leg rising 20% week-on-week to finish at $4,999 per 40ft.

However, sources said that slots are being purchased at much higher levels.

“Rates for spot are in the $6,000-$7,500 mark, with carriers saying they will hit $10,000.”

Tight vessel supply is continuing to combine with high demand in trunk trades and has led to a worsening shortage of containers at key export hubs in Asia, which is now having a significant impact on secondary trades.

And carriers’ preference to carry higher-paying spot cargo over contracted volumes is infuriating many customers.

May 28: Trade Strains Boost Cargo Rates at Pace Recalling COVID ‘Chaos’ – American Journal of Transportation

Global goods trade is showing signs of accelerating after last year’s slump, pushing up shipping rates and giving some supply chain managers flashbacks to the demand spike that disrupted international commerce three years ago.

“This situation will bring back memories of the chaos and sky-rocketing ocean freight rates during the pandemic,” said Emily Stausbøll, a senior shipping analyst with Xeneta, an Oslo-based freight analytics platform. “Shippers have learned lessons from COVID-19 and some are bringing their imports forward, ahead of the peak season and the potential for a capacity squeeze.”

Some of the catalysts for the monthlong advance in seaborne freight rates stem more from worry than optimism. They include concerns about port congestion in Asia, labour strikes in North America that threaten to hobble ports or rail services, and heightened trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

May 28: Box Ships Omitting Singapore Call as Port Congestion Hits Critical Level – The Loadstar

Congestion in Singapore, the world’s second-busiest container port, has reached a critical level, compounding the shortage of ships and containers.

Data from Linerlytica indicates that containerships have to wait up to seven days to berth in Singapore, recently seeing up to 450,000 TEU of vessels in the queue.

And port congestion globally is worsening and has tied up 2 million TEU of ships, nearly 7% of the fleet, which is lending support to carrier rate hikes.

The bottlenecks at Singapore are mainly due to the diversions caused by the Red Sea crisis and shipping lines skipping the less-busy Port Klang in Malaysia. In normal circumstances, ships can berth upon arrival in Singapore, or wait half a day at most.

May 29: Some Shipping Container Costs Hit US$10,000 – Transport Topics

Companies transporting goods from Asia face costs of as much US$10,000 for an urgent full-size shipping container over the next month – about double current spot rates, according to prices circulating between carriers and importers.

CMA CGM already announced a $7,000 rate for a 40-foot container for the second half of June for goods shipped to northern Europe from Asia. That’s up from the current charge of about $5,000. For the first half of June, rates range from $6,000 to $6,500, with premium service offered at $7,500 to $10,000.

May 29: New FMC Rules on Detention and Demurrage Come into Force – The Loadstar

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) revision to detention and demurrage (D&D) rules came into force on May 28, introducing new requirements for billing, time frames and how to dispute unfair charges.

A key provision determines that D&D invoices can only be issued to either the consignee – defined as “the ultimate recipient of the cargo” – the person who contracted with the billing party to provide ocean transportation or storage of cargo, or the person for whose account this was provided.

The FMC highlighted that “billing the proper party is an important part of the final rule.”

May 30: Getting Containers in the Right Place at the Right Time is Now ‘Impossible’ – The Loadstar

Shippers and forwarders could find it “impossible” to position containers in the right place at the right time, as the global box shortage worsens.

The global dearth of containers has been threatening to disrupt shipping over the past few months, driven by Red Sea crisis diversions. But recently, it hit a crescendo as demand is exacerbated by shipping’s earlier-than-usual peak season.

Mirko Woitzik, global director of intelligence at Everstream Analytics, explained that shippers securing back-to-school and holiday goods earlier, more blank sailings out of Asia, little idle capacity, longer transit times around Africa, bad weather in Asia and a looming strike at U.S. Gulf and east coast ports have all created the perfect storm for disruption.

May 30: Panama Canal Increases Maximum Draft Ahead of Schedule – gCaptain

The Panama Canal Authority announced on May 30 an increase in the maximum authorized draft of the Panama Canal’s Neopanamax locks to 45 feet, bringing it closer to the normal limit of 50 feet. This adjustment, originally scheduled for June 15, comes in anticipation of the rainy season in the Panama Canal watershed and the current and projected levels of Gatun Lake.

The announcement comes days before the Authority is scheduled to add one extra transit in the Neopanamax locks, bringing the total number of daily transits to 32, up from a low of 24.

The Panama Canal is slowly returning to normal operations after over a year of restrictions due to a severe drought.




May 1: Airfreight Contracts Begin to Reflect Threat of a Q4 Capacity Crunch – The Loadstar

“Capacity will be king in Q4,” said one forwarder at the CNS Partnership event in Dallas – that is now becoming clear in the data and shipper airfreight contracts, according to Xeneta.

Volumes are coming off the spot market, it explained. In April, the spot market share was 41%, down 4 percentage points from a year earlier. And, with fears of a busy Q4, shippers and forwarders are starting to plan ahead.

“There’s the reality of now, where you will see load factor decline on markets, because of the increase in capacity, sitting alongside preparations already under way for Q4,” said Xeneta’s chief airfreight officer, Niall van de Wouw.

May 2: Air Canada Abandons Plans for Two Boeing 767 Converted Freighters – American Shipper

Air Canada has again scaled back growth plans for its startup freighter division, announcing it has canceled orders with a vendor to convert two Boeing 767-300 passenger jets into freighters.

The airline took a one-time charge of US$14.5 million for backing out of reservations for production slots at Israel Aircraft Industries, it said in its earnings report for the first quarter.

Air Canada’s freighter airline division is nearly two and a half years old and now consists of eight Boeing 767-300 freighters: six converted passenger jets and two factory models. It had seven aircraft at the end of 2023. The feedstock for cargo conversions came from 767s that were retired from Air Canada’s passenger fleet.

May 8: Global Trade Gains Push Air Cargo Rates Higher: TAC Index – The STAT Times

Global air freight prices edged a little higher again, according to the latest data from TAC Index. The overall Baltic Air Freight Index calculated by TAC was up 2.1 percent for the week to May 6, leaving it now close to flat at -2.2 percent over the last 12 months.

“The ongoing strength of the market follows recent predictions of an uptick in global trade from the OECD, IMF and World Trade Organization – and some sources anticipating tight capacity for peak season later this year,” says the update.

May 23: Dramatic Increase in Severe Turbulence Incidents Impacting Airfreight – Air Cargo Week

The recent fatality and injuries on board Singapore Airlines’ flight SQ321 highlights the dangers of turbulence. A 55% increase in severe turbulence since 1979 is also having a dramatic impact on air cargo, warns international delivery expert Parcelhero.

The Singapore Airlines’ aircraft hit severe turbulence and dropped more than 6,000 feet (1800m) in three minutes. While this was particularly dramatic, the number of severe turbulence events has been growing in recent years.

“Meteorologists from the University of Reading released a report last year revealing that, at a typical point over the North Atlantic (one of the world’s busiest flight routes), the total annual duration of severe turbulence increased by 55% from 1979 to 2020,” said Parcelhero’s Head of Consumer Research David Jinks.

“This is … why anyone sending an item overseas must carefully follow all packaging recommendations. The increasing likelihood of turbulence means [packages] must be packaged as carefully and securely as possible. Cargo is securely stowed in the bellyholds of aircraft but the growing likelihood of turbulence means every precaution must be taken.”

May 31: Transpac E-Commerce Freighters on Pause as U.S. Customs Checks Every Parcel – The Loadstar

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency is inspecting every single e-commerce shipment coming from mainland China on freighters – leading to airport congestion, delays and the cancellation or suspension of some flights, according to sources.

“All freighters coming into LAX from mainland China, many of which are Shein and Temu, are going straight to Customs warehouses for full inspection,” said one source at LAX.

“And CBP is finding a lot of illegal stuff. There is fentanyl, drug-making equipment and misdeclarations of value to meet the de minimis threshold.”

With estimates of 100 freighters a day carrying e-commerce into the U.S., perhaps 100 tons on each – there is a significant amount of cargo to check.




May 1: CP, CN Railway Workers Vote to Strike – iPolitics

Workers for Canada’s biggest railways have voted to strike, setting the stage for a potentially crippling labour disruption that could stall freight shipments across the country.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference union says members working at Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike mandate as both sides remain far apart in labour negotiations.

The Teamsters could now call for a nationwide rail strike as early as May 22. It would impact around 9,900 train conductors, locomotive engineers and other workers.

The union said turnout for the votes came in at 92 percent, with 98 percent supporting a strike mandate. The numbers varied among the four bargaining units, though none came back at lower than 95 percent.

The strike vote comes at the end of the 60-day conciliation period between the railways and unions. Both sides are now in a 21-day cooling off period. No strike or lockout can take place until it concludes.

May 3: Minister of Labour Wants Deal “Done at the Table” to Avoid CN, CPKC Strikes (video) – TCRC Calgary

Canada’s Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan, wants the unions and the railways to reach a deal through negotiation without resorting to a strike or lockout.

He said on May 3: “I am serious when I say that the best deals are made at the table. They have to be made at the table. They have to be made between those unions and those employers.” However, he stressed, the parties need to get serious now. “Get a deal.”

He added: “I am not one of these ones who considers drama part of the process… If you see the deal, get the deal. If you’ve got to work to get to the deal, then work to get to the deal… The less drama, the better. Get the deal done at the table.”

May 10: Labour Minister Asks CIRB to Review Safety Aspect of Potential Railway Strike – Chamber of Shipping

The Minister of Labour has referred a question to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to determine if any rail activity must continue during a strike or lockout to protect the health and safety of Canadians. Concerns with the supply of chlorine, fuel and other essential commodities to communities have been raised. This referral means a legal strike or lockout cannot occur until the CIRB renders its decision.

May 13: Construction on CN Rail Hub in GTA Can Continue for Now: Judge – CTV News

The Federal Court of Appeal says work on a massive rail-and-truck hub in the Greater Toronto Area can go ahead – for the time being, as the future of the facility remains in limbo.

In a stay of a lower court ruling that had halted construction, the judge allowed Canadian National Railway Co. to continue to build the terminal in Milton, Ont., pending appeal of the earlier decision.

The $250-million project aims to double CN’s existing line of tracks in the area and construct a hub for containers to be transferred between semi trucks and freight cars.

Federal Appeal Court Justice George Locke said that, while a halt to work would have no effect on CN’s long-term viability, any delay is “detrimental to the public interest.”

“The harmful effects of construction emissions appear to be outweighed by the costs to CN of suspending its construction activities, and more importantly, the public interest in the completion of the project,” the judge wrote earlier this month.

Final word on whether work can proceed will rest on a later ruling from the Federal Court of Appeal.

May 16: CN Presents Simplified Offer to TCRC – CN press release

In an attempt to avoid a work stoppage and end the unpredictability for Canada’s supply chains, CN has tabled a new offer to the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC).

CN said the offer respects Duty and Rest Period Rules and is aligned with scientific fatigue management practices.

May 23: Letter to Ministers of Labour and Transport re Potential CN, CPKC Labour Disruptions – More Than 100 Signatories, Including CIFFA

Forty-five Canadian associations and 60 chambers of commerce and boards of trade have signed a letter to Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr. and Minister of Transport Pablo Rodriguez to express “alarm over the potential for a labour disruption that would affect Class I railways.”

The letter noted:

  • According to the Railway Association of Canada, our two freight railways transported a total of more than $380 billion worth of goods in 2022, and approximately half of the country’s exports. A strike interrupting service on both railways’ Canadian networks is estimated to impact the flow of more than $1 billion of goods every single day.
  • This is not the time to put further strain on a system that is under pressure and once again jeopardize Canada’s reputation as a stable place to do business; we need to ensure our supply chains are reliable and resilient.
  • A breakdown in operations would have severe impacts that span almost all industries across the country. We simply don’t have the capacity in other modes of transportation to replace the movement of goods by rail.

“On behalf of the Canadian business community, we urge the government to actively engage in ensuring a successful bargaining process, and in the event of failure, that it be prepared to act to prevent another labour disruption,” said the groups.




May 5: Hundreds of Semi Trucks Drive Across Metro Vancouver Sunday to Protest Industry Changes – CityNews

Hundreds of semi truck drivers drove across Metro Vancouver on May 5 to show solidarity between company owners and drivers over proposed changes to the drayage industry.

The event was organized to protest new licensing of port container carriers and to advocate for fair pay for drivers hauling containers in and out of port terminals.

“Attempting to reshape British Columbia’s container drayage industry by way of licence will have detrimental effects on B.C. small business, jobs within all related sectors, risk the health of Canada’s supply chain, and will ultimately increase inflation,” the Port Transportation Association said in a news release.

May 7: Quebec Study Finds EV Transition Cost-Effective in Short-Haul Operations – Today’s Trucking

Many carriers can start saving money today by transitioning to electrification slowly, one truck at a time, said Philippe Louisseize, project manager of electrification at Innovative Vehicle Institute (IVI), and Charles Trudel, the institute’s technological applications group manager, during the EV & Charging Expo on May 2 in Toronto.

Louisseize and Trudel presented data from the Plug-In Fleet study, conducted by the Que.-based IVI. It has revealed that a quarter of the Quebec fleet’s trucks included in the study are suitable to be electrified overnight, and another quarter is electrifiable through operational adjustments.

The study highlighted that electric trucks are up to the challenge of Canadian winters, showing an average 30% drop in range during winter, a promising sign for year-round reliability.

The project has also revealed that 50-kW charges are sufficient for local short-haul deliveries, and battery weight in trucks has not proven to be a problem for carriers.

May 8: Sustainability Initiatives Bring ‘Double-Bottom Line’ to Carriers – Commercial Carrier Journal

Embracing sustainability initiatives isn’t just about being environmentally conscious; it’s also a financial decision.

According to a Geotab industry survey, 69% of fleet managers who implemented sustainability initiatives reported a significant decrease in operating expenses over the previous year. The survey also noted that 42% of fleet professionals believe customers will demand more fleet sustainability initiatives in the next one to three years to continue doing business with them.

May 10: Cargo Theft Increased 46% in Q1: CargoNet – Today’s Trucking

Criminal activities impacting the logistics and transportation industry reached new highs in Q1 2024, Verisk’s CargoNet reports. This year, the organization documented 925 incidents, a 46% increase compared with the same time last year, and a 10% rise from Q4 2023.

On average, the stolen shipment value in Q1 was $281,757, while the declared total value was $76 million. By extrapolating the average shipment value across events without a declared value, CargoNet estimates that a total of $154.6 million worth of goods were stolen during this period.

May 14: FMCSA Sticks with Broker Final Rule, While Planning Other Broker-Focused Rulemakings – Land Line

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to maintain its final rule on broker and freight forwarder financial responsibility.

Last November, FMCSA published a final rule that takes several steps to improve broker security regulations, including the suspension of operating authority if the available financial security falls below $75,000.

Although the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association believes the rule is a step in the right direction, it argues that the agency should be doing even more to promote a fair working environment between brokers and motor carriers. Because of that, OOIDA filed a petition for reconsideration in December to strengthen the rule.

FMCSA, however, recently informed OOIDA that it is going to stay the course with the final rule, which took effect in January. The agency said OOIDA’s requests were “out of scope” for this specific rule but noted that it is taking steps to address broker issues.

May 17: Opposition Grows in U.S. to Speedy Electric Truck Transition – FreightWaves

There is a growing and widespread backlash in the U.S. to the regulation-driven transition to electric trucks.

Nearly every stakeholder – from the trucking industry and driver organizations to state attorneys general – is weighing in with dire estimates of crippling costs to a cyclical industry.

Electric truck proponents admit they cost more than diesel trucks – two or three times as much – to acquire. But with fewer parts, less maintenance and smart charging practices, the reasoning goes that EVs could reach parity with diesel while dramatically reducing air pollution.

The industry is on the defensive against the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency over purchase requirements for electric trucks and air quality standards achievable only by going electric, which have zero tailpipe emissions.

“A real-world understanding of the path to our shared goal of zero emissions is needed, but unrealistic timelines and expectations will break the bank,” said Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations.



CIFFA Advocacy, Communications, Activities

May 1: CIFFA Elects Six New Board Members at Toronto AGM – The Forwarder Online

CIFFA elected six new board members at its AGM on April 24, in Toronto. New board members are:

  • Chris Bachinski, Co-CEO & President, GHY International, Winnipeg
  • Tim Drake, Vice President, Logistics, The Seaboard Transport Group, Toronto
  • Gary Nicholson, General Manager, Polaris Global Logistics, Toronto
  • Diane Sirois, Owner, NOVA Containers Ltd., Montreal
  • Anna Vitasovic, Vice President, International Freight, Omnitrans Inc., Montreal
  • Anne Waldes, CEO/President, Trade Link International Ltd., Toronto

“We are very pleased to be adding such experience and diversity to our expanded board. These knowledgeable leaders in supply chain will assist in establishing future direction and guidance as we continue to focus on the challenges and interests of our members,” said Bruce Rodgers, Executive Director.

May 7: Monica Kennedy Recipient of CIFFA’S 2024 Donna Letterio Leadership Award – The Forwarder Online

Monica Kennedy, owner and President at ITN Logistics Group of Companies, has been named the winner of CIFFA’s 2024 Donna Letterio Leadership Award.

CIFFA introduced the annual Donna Letterio Leadership Award in December 2015, in memory of former CIFFA President Donna Letterio, who passed away in August 2013. The award recognizes a woman in the global freight logistics sector who has demonstrated, as Donna did, professionalism, commitment, leadership and a passion for excellence in her career and in her life.

CIFFA will present the award during its gala dinner event in Montreal this June. In addition to the award, CIFFA will prepare a cheque in Monica’s name for $1,000, which will be presented to Bladder Cancer Canada.

In the nomination form, Kennedy is described as a successful business entrepreneur and an individual with outstanding values and vision who has devoted almost 50 years to the logistics and transportation industry and has been certified by the WBE (Women’s Business Enterprises) in Canada and the USA since 2020.

May 20: CIFFA Responds to CIRB Request for Comments: Do CN and CPKC Have to Provide Some Level of Service During Strike/Lockout to Ensure Public Safety?

On May 13, the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) invited affected groups or organizations to file submissions in two referrals made by Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan. The referrals relate to agreements between CPKC and Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and CN-TCRC that no services or activities have to be maintained in the event of a strike or lockout.

O’Regan asked that the CIRB determine whether the agreements entered into by the parties are sufficient to ensure that section 87.4(1) of the Canada Labour Code is complied with and that the CIRB determine the action, if any, that is required in order for the employers, the union and the employees in the bargaining units to comply with section 87.4(1) of the Code in the event of a work stoppage.

Section 87.4(1) of the Code provides that: “During a strike or lockout … the employer, the trade union and the employees in the bargaining unit must continue the supply of services, operation of facilities or production of goods to the extent necessary to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety or health of the public.”

In part, CIFFA wrote:

The primary concerns for CIFFA members in the questions posed by this request for submissions are the logistical complexities involved in the consolidated shipments of essential products (how essential products might be fairly identified and sorted in consolidated shipments), how the “definition of food products” might be articulated and the limitations that term would have for food security overall. Canada’s supply chain is complex and cannot transition quickly. CIFFA members are also concerned that the 72-hour notice period that would take effect once the CIRB renders a decision is insufficient.

The disruptions to Canada’s supply chain caused by railway work stoppages are damaging to Canada’s economy and reputation as a trading partner. The transition to alternative modes cannot happen quickly, causing congestion and chaos in Canada’s ports. Distinguishing essential versus non-essential goods is not as simple as providing a narrow definition of essential, as products at all stages of the value chain to ensure food, energy and water security should be considered essential. The complexity and integration for the movement of goods makes distinguishing between essential and non-essential goods for the purposes of moving only essential goods an almost impossible task.

For these reasons, CIFFA members encourage the CIRB and the government of Canada to recognize the essential nature of rail transportation services in general.